By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today revealed new figures showing that more than 30,000 social worker days were lost to mental ill health in just one year.
27 councils responded to a Scottish Liberal Democrat freedom of information request, revealing that in 2021/22:
- 30,649 days were lost to mental ill health.
- Glasgow reported the highest absences, with 8,539 days lost, followed by North Lanarkshire with 3,387 days lost.
The Scottish Government is currently proposing to fold social work into their plans for a centralised care service.
This comes despite Social Work Scotland and others suggesting that there needed to be more evidence of the benefits to including these services, what should be kept from the current delivery, and more consultation with relevant service users.
Alex Cole-Hamilton, pictured right, said: “These are shocking figures for just a single year. Social workers deal with some of the toughest cases imaginable and it is no wonder that it takes a toll on people’s mental health.
“The last thing these hardworking staff needs is to be folded into a billion-pound bureaucracy answerable to ministers and insensitive to local demands.
“To make social work a profession of choice, the Scottish Government should be focused on improving pay, conditions and personal development opportunities, rather than making social work just one small part of a vast machine with ministers at the head.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose the SNP’s disastrous and expensive takeover of social work and social care.”
Picture above: Gartnavel Royal Hospital in Glasgow.