Date Published: 14 May 2009
Doctors welcome review of mental health services
The BMA today [Thursday 14 May 2009] welcomed the publication of Audit Scotland's Overview of mental health services but warned that psychiatry continues to be the â??Cinderella specialty' when it came to funding.
The report shows that mental health care has changed significantly, with more people receiving treatment in the community and a greater focus on helping people to recover from mental health problems. However, there are long waits to access certain services, particularly services for younger and older people, and there is a lack of out-of-hours and crisis services in some areas.
Dr Sally Winning, a psychiatrist and member of the BMA's Scottish Council, said:
“There have been significant improvements in mental health services over the last ten years but if we are to continue to enhance patient care then we need resources to properly fund services and enable more integrated working. Mental health services are currently not given the funding priority they deserve.
Investment must be targeted at areas of greatest need. People living in areas of deprivation are more likely to suffer from a mental illness, and suicide rates are significantly higher for this group. If we are to address the health inequality gap that exists in Scotland then addressing mental health must be a key part of the strategy.”
In a recent BMA survey of UK doctors working in psychiatric services, over half (53%) of doctors reported that low funding levels would result in a delay in accessing psychiatric services. Other adverse impacts include not enough clinical or nursing staff, lack of beds, and delays in implementing patients' care.
Source: British Medical Association.