Colin Smyth, South of Scotland MSP has today (6th Sep) has criticised the Scottish Government after the latest NHS waiting time figures revealed “unacceptable” waiting times for patients to see a psychological therapist all across Ayrshire and Arran.

Figures released by ISD Scotland show only 76% of patients are seeing a mental health therapist within 18 weeks- well below the target of 90% in Ayrshire and Arran.

Of the 1768 patients seen, just 1343 were seen within the target of 18 weeks meaning 425 people had to wait over 18 weeks just to be seen.

The report goes further still and states that there are still 1939 on the waiting list to be seen across Ayrshire and Arran 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 Ayrshire and Arran 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. A large part of our area is rural and access to health care is crucial. Just imagine reaching out and saying you have mental health issues, asking for help and being told you have to wait 18 weeks just to be seen.

The SNP Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt is failing to deliver for the people of Ayrshire and Arran. 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 access services they need

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