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SNP Government dilutes commitment to new mental health workers

November 7, 2019 3:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrats today highlighted that the SNP Government is diluting its commitment to give key public services the new mental health workers they need, in light of new figures showing more than a third of the new staff recruited so far are being attributed to 'other settings' and ministers couldn't explain what they are doing.

Scottish Liberal Democrats secured a commitment in the 2017 Mental Health Strategy for 800 new staff to be put in A&Es, GP practices, in prisons and with the police. The Scottish Government has so far added 206 staff in these areas.
But in an effort to meet the target of 800 extra workers the latest progress report includes 121 people who have been added to 'other settings'. Under questioning from the Scottish Liberal Democrats, the Scottish Government couldn't account for what the people in 'other settings' are doing, where they are, or the extent to which they are even full-time dedicated mental health workers.
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:
"It's been almost three years since the SNP Government accepted the Liberal Democrat demand for new mental health staff to work alongside GPs, A&E staff, police and prison officers. Now it is clear that these under-pressure services aren't going to get the full 800 staff they are due.
"More than a third of the staff recruited so far have been attributed to 'other settings'. However, the Scottish Government can't tell us any more about where they are or what they are doing. The target has been diluted.
"We warned the Scottish Government that 800 staff wouldn't be enough to meet the huge demand that exists in GP surgeries, A&E, in prisons and with the police. We asked for much more. The SNP's failure to now even stick to this unambitious but explicit commitment will only add to the pressure these critical services are under."