GP depression appointments down by half since 2003

THE number of GP appointments for depression has halved in the last decade despite a sharp increase in prescriptions for Scots suffering from the illness, new figures have revealed.

Prescriptions for depressed Scots have increased but GP appointments have halved. Picture (posed by model): PA

There 850,000 consultations for depression with a GP or practice nurse a decade ago, compared to 420,000 last year, official health statistics showed.

However, the number of people receiving medication to treat depression increased from 3.4 million items dispensed in 2003, to 5.2 million last year.

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Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw called for an urgent explanation over what he said was a “glaring gulf” in how to care for people living with depression.

He said: “If there are so many fewer GP consultations, where are the tens of thousands extra people suffering from depression getting their medication from?

“We cannot have a situation where people are being parked on this medication, and robbed of any chance of a full recovery.”