By Harry Bell
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has called for action to improve mental health services on World Mental Health Day.
Baillie has warned of an “emergency” in mental health care, with recent figures showing immense pressure on services.
CAMHS waiting lists are currently at an all-time high, with almost 12,000 children waiting for treatment.
Of these, almost half have been waiting more than the target 18 weeks, with a shocking 1,700 forced to wait over a year.
The Scottish Government has never once met it’s CAMHS target of seeing 90 per cent of referrals within 18 weeks.
Adult services are not faring much better, with more than 22,000 patients languishing on psychological therapies waiting lists.
Of these, almost 40% of patients have waited more than 18 weeks and an astonishing 3,880 have been waiting more than a year – more than 17% of those waiting.
Jackie Baillie, pictured right, has demanded “actions not words” from the Scottish Government on World Mental Health Day.
Scottish Labour has reiterated its calls for every GP practice in Scotland to have a dedicated mental health worker, increase mental health funding to 11% of the NHS budget, and establish mental health A&Es in every health board.
She said: “We are facing a growing mental health emergency in Scotland. Services are stretched to breaking point, with children languishing on record waiting lists and patients routinely waiting more than a year for treatment.
“The full effect of the pandemic on mental health remains to be seen – but we are creating a timebomb for ourselves if we don’t act now.
“After the trauma and sacrifices of the last year and a half, the very least we owe people is reliable mental health support.
“World Mental Health Day reminds us of the urgent actions required, rather than more warm words from the SNP.
“We need mental health professionals in every GP practice and mental health A&Es in every health board.
“Crucially, the SNP must put their money where their mouth is and increase what we spend on mental health services, which remains woefully low in Scotland.”
Meanwhile, still on the health front, Jackie Baillie has raised serious concerns about the latest statistics on cervical cancer screening.
Figures published by Public Health Scotland highlighted that the number of smear tests fell by 45% in a year, from 318,727 in 2019-20 to 174,299 in 2020-21. Furthermore, the stats showed that uptake in the most deprived areas is 63%, compared to 74% in the least deprived.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “These scandalous figures lay bare the havoc wreaked by the pandemic on wider healthcare services.
“This fall in screenings will create a ticking time bomb of cancer diagnoses, with delays putting lives at risk.
“Scotland’s health inequalities are already a national scandal, and the stark gap in screening uptake between the best and the worst off makes it clear that once again it is the worst off who are being left behind. We need urgent action to close this gap.
“The SNP urgently need to come up with a proper cancer recovery plan to get caught up on screening and get people the care they need. There isn’t a second to waste.”