Colin Smyth, South of Scotland MSP has today (5th Sep) has criticised the Scottish Government after the latest NHS waiting time figures revealed “unacceptable” waiting times for patients to see a psychological therapist in Dumfries and Galloway.

Figures released by ISD Scotland show that in Dumfries and Galloway only 69.7% of patients are seeing a mental health therapist within 18 weeks- well below the target of 90%.

Of the 727 patients seen, just 507 were seen within the target of 18 weeks meaning 220 people had to wait over 18 weeks just to be seen.

The problems do not stop there as it is estimated that there are still 1074 on the waiting list to be seen in Dumfries and Galloway when last counted on 30 June 2017.

Commenting on the latest figures, Shadow Health Minister Colin Smyth MSP said:

“The latest waiting time figures for people to get support are completely unacceptable.

Again and again people are calling for the Scottish Government to take mental health issues seriously, yet waiting times continue to grow.  

In a rural area such as here in Dumfries and Galloway we need to ensure services are available to people who need them wherever they live in the region. Having to wait over 18 weeks to just be simply seen by a psychological therapist truly shocking.

The SNP Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt is failing to deliver for the people of Dumfries and Galloway. The longer waiting times go unmet in our region, the more it looks like the SNP government is simply paying lip service to mental health rather than giving it parity with physical health.

It is about time the SNP Government put urgent plans in place to ensure mental health is a higher priority for the Government and patients are able to to access services they need

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