Bid to boost mental health worker numbers falling ‘woefully short’, says MSP

The Scottish Government is falling “woefully short” on its pledge to increase the number of mental health workers, it has been claimed.

In 2017, ministers set out a 10-year strategy outlining proposals to better prevent and treat mental health problems in Scotland.

The document included a plan to hire an additional 800 mental health staff in hospitals, GP surgeries, prisons and police stations by 2021/22.

However, in response to a Parliamentary question on Tuesday, Mental Health Minister Claire Haughey said that as of January 1 this year, only 106 workers had so far been recruited.

Scottish Conservative mental health spokeswoman Annie Wells warned that the 800 staff target would risk being missed if action is not taken.

“The SNP’s promise to hire hundreds of much-needed mental health workers is falling woefully short,” said Ms Wells.

“Unless serious improvements are made fast, this target will be missed spectacularly.

“Mental health is meant to be a priority for government – that’s something all political parties agree on.

“But instead, we have an SNP government presiding over falling numbers of mental health workers and a recruitment campaign which two years in is barely off the ground.

“That will have a detrimental impact not only on vulnerable patients, but hardworking staff on overstretched wards.”

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