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MSP says Lanarkshire mental health waiting times for patients are "scandalous"

Written by Scott Campbell.
 
 
 
 
 
Published at 15:42 GMT on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011.

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A FREEDOM of information (FOI) request has revealed that some children in Scotland are waiting for up to three and a half years before receiving mental health treatment. 

In NHS Lanarkshire, children can face a wait of up to 70 weeks, the second longest wait. The worst health board NHS Tayside has a waiting time of up to 182 weeks. In comparison the wait in NHS Dumfries and Galloway was only 16 weeks. 

The FOI also showed that patients for adult psychology, psychiatric treatment and cognitive behaviour therapies can also be on waiting lists for years before being seen.

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Commenting on the results, Margaret Mitchell MSP, Conservative & Unionist member for Central Scotland said: “That a child in need of mental health treatment could be asked to wait for over a year in Lanarkshire and in some health authorities up to three and a half years to be seen is absolutely scandalous. Clearly, immediate action must be taken to reduce these waiting times as we cannot afford to neglect the mental health of Scottish children. 

“Quite simply, if the Scottish Government is going to reach its target to reduce mental health waiting times for children to twenty-six weeks by March 2013 then action must be taken now to reduce these current waiting times.

“In addition, given that 47% of incapacity benefit claimants have a mental health problem, there needs to be an increase in resources for mental health, to give people the opportunity to get back to work under the proposed Welfare Reform system.

“Furthermore, the statistics confirm that these huge inequalities in mental health waiting times, which have taken place under the Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon’s watch, are nothing new as the differences in waiting times between regions were highlighted by Audit Scotland back in 2009.”

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