The revelation that some mental health patients are having to wait years not days to leave hospital has exposed the shortcomings in care, according to South Scotland MSP and Shadow Health Minister Colin Smyth.

According to a UK-wide investigation by the BBC of delayed discharge among mental health patients, one health board that partly covers the South of Scotland- NHS Lothian – had a patient wait more than three years to be moved out of hospital after they were declared ready to leave, with another local health board- NHS Borders – having a patent wait more than a year. In the other South Scotland Health Boards- Ayrshire and Arran; Dumfries and Galloway and Lanarkshire- some patients were forced to wait months rather than days to leave hospital.

South Scotland MSP and Shadow Health Minister Colin Smyth said:

“These figures expose the huge shortcomings we have with mental health care. In 2015 the SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison promised to eradicate delayed discharge completely – but instead we are seeing vulnerable people waiting not days to leave hospital when they are deemed able to do so, but months and years. If someone is fit to leave hospital they should be able to do so quickly and that means any care package that is required in the community should be put in place. We need to see a real change of approach by the SNP Government on two levels. Firstly, they need to give mental health the parity of esteem with physical health make it a higher priority than it is at present and secondly we need to see an end to austerity and cuts so that we are properly funding appropriate care for our most vulnerable, because these figures reveal we are failing to do so.”

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