Scots suffer delays to mental health treatment of more than 1,000 days

Patients are waiting more than 1,000 days for mental health treatment across some health boards in Scotland, it can be revealed.

Patients in NHS Fife, Shetland and Tayside are waiting more than 1,000 days to receive psychological therapies, a Freedom of Information request from the Scottish Liberal Liberal Democrats has shown.

The longest a patient has been waiting is 1,482 days in NHS Fife.

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The funding will help provide practical mental health support for those most in need. Picture: Marjan Apostolovic

On mental health treatment, the Scottish Government target is for 90 per cent of patients to start treatment for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and psychological therapies within 18 weeks of referral by March 2023.

The FOI also revealed, between 2021 and this year, patients in NHS Fife, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), NHS Shetland and NHS Tayside waited more than 1,000 days to receive treatment.

Calling for an urgent uplift in mental health funding, Scottish Lib Dems leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The Government’s neglect of mental health is shocking. It’s becoming ever more apparent that they have no intention of clearing waiting lists and meeting their treatment time target.

“Patients cannot be put on hold for more than 1,000 days. Their mental state will simply worsen with every day that passes.

“We need actions that will be met, not targets that will be broken.

“I am committed to bringing new hope for Scotland’s healthcare system. On top of training hundreds of new counsellors, Scottish Liberal Democrats would make sure every school has access to a counsellor and ramp up training so that every workplace can get the benefit of a mental health first aid trainer.”

Seven NHS health boards – NHSGGC, Forth Valley, Lothian, Lanarkshire, Borders, Fife and Highland – have been prioritised for additional support for CAMHS waiting times.

NHS Forth Valley, NHS Grampian, NHS Highland and NHS Lothian have been prioritised for additional support for patient treatment waiting times.

Mental wellbeing minister Kevin Stewart said: “Long waits for mental health treatment are unacceptable and we continue to work with health boards to ensure patients begin treatment within 18 weeks of referral.

“Improvement plans are in place in seven health boards to enhance their CAMHS delivery and we are monitoring progress closely. We are working with mental health leads in these boards to implement recovery plans.”

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