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Hume: Mental health spend 'too little too late'

January 14, 2016 2:54 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume today branded the Scottish Government's decision to allocate an additional £10 million a year to mental health as "too little too late", after urging the Finance Secretary to recognise that it won't deliver the step-change in mental health that is desperately needed.

During General Questions at the Scottish Parliament today, Mr Hume pressed John Swinney on the difference the money would make given that under this Scottish Government spending on mental health as a share of total NHS spending in Scotland has fallen year on year since 2009.

Following his questioning Mr Hume said: "While £10 million more a year for mental health is welcome, it is too little too late. The share of money spent on mental health has been shrinking for years and this simply isn't going to deliver the step-change that is so desperately needed.

"The Finance Secretary again today refused to acknowledge that mental health services in Scotland are underfunded and under-resourced. People are forced to travel hundreds of miles for treatment. Some people are waiting up to a year to see a specialist. Only a third of children and young people in Tayside are starting to receive the care they need within the 18-week treatment target.

"One in four people experience a mental health problem during their lifetime. After years of underinvestment, mental health services need more than an extra £10 million a year to make a real difference. That just doesn't cut it. Resources are stretched far too thinly across the services in Scotland and vulnerable children, young people and adults need much more support than SNP Ministers seem willing to commit to."