LibLink: Jim Hume MSP: Out of sight, out of mind? Why the SNP need to get serious on mental health

Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume has been writing on the Scottish Liberal Democrat website about the crisis in mental health care in Scotland, where they haven’t had a Norman Lamb in power transforming mental health provision.

In Scotland during the last 5 years, over 4000 people were treated outside their own health board. Jim says that’s not good enough:

Despite the number of patients being discharged from psychiatric hospitals in Scotland falling dramatically in the past decade, hundreds of patients are still facing being treated away from their families and communities.

There will always be some patients who need to be sent to specialist clinics outside of their health board for treatment. But it is clear that mental health units across the country are struggling to cope with demand on their services.

We know that sending patients out of area can isolate them from their support networks, including friends, families and their community care team.

The life-changing nature of such a move means it could also have implications for the civil liberties of an indidividual – which must be considered under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (ScotlandAct 2003.

It can be detrimental to a persons recovery.

He goes on to call for parity between mental and physical health, as introduced by Paul Burstow and Norman Lamb south of the border:

It’s why I am calling for the SNP Government to enshrine parity in law between the treatment of mental and physical ill health.

These figures are disappointing. Though sadly they come as no surprise, given that there is only one CAMHS bed for the whole North of Scotland.

The Mental Welfare Commission has already highlighted how too many young people are being treated in unsuitable adult units. Waiting times for key mental health treatments for both adults and young people are still being missed.

Thousands can’t even access treatment in the first place because their conditions don’t fit with the strict guidelines.

I welcome moves to treat more people in the community but there will always be some individuals with complex and longer-term mental health needs who cannot be discharged home.

You can read the whole article here.

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2 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 19th Aug '15 - 9:47pm

    Remember what John Cleese said at conference. He is deeply serious. Centralisation is bad for mental health.

  • I detest such a serious issue being used as a political tool.

    The LibDems shared power with Labour in Scotland until 2007 and from 2007 to 2011 had strong leverage to push issues on a minority SNP government – what did they do?

    They did nothing to push or promote major change.

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