Jim Hume, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for South Scotland and health spokesperson, said there are deep-seated, systemic problems in the way that mental ill health is treated in Scotland after hosting a mental health summit at the Scottish Parliament last week.
The summit brought together service users, medical experts, charities and mental health campaigners for a wide-ranging discussion of mental health services in Scotland.
Issues raised by participants included lack of inpatient beds for children with conditions such as severe autism, staff shortages in consulting, nursing and psychiatric positions and chronic problems of long waiting times for both adults and children.
Speaking after the summit, Jim Hume MSP said:
“Staff in our NHS and third sector do fantastic work to help people suffering from mental ill health but we should be clear; there are deep-seated, systemic problems in the way that these services are supported at the current time.
“Participants at the summit raised concerns over bed numbers, early intervention, waiting times, staffing levels and much more. Whether we are talking about services to support vulnerable children and young people or adults, we need to work together to ensure that people do not fall through the cracks in the system.
“At the summit we heard from services users who have struggled to access the support they need and were left to fend for themselves at the time they need our help the most. We heard from charities and campaigners who work with doctors and nurses who are doing their utmost but facing enormous workload pressures.
“The meeting last week was an important first step towards identifying the challenges that we face and talking about how we can ensure that Scotland has mental health services which are built to last. The mental health sector and the participants at the summit are speaking with one voice. It is time that the SNP government started listening."
Notes to editors,
A full list of the organisations attending is as follows:
Social Work Scotland
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
British Medical Association
British Psychological Society
Mental Welfare Commission
Mental Health Foundation
Royal College of GPs
Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland
Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH)
Scottish Recovery Network
Who Cares? Scotland
Falkland House School
Support in Mind Scotland