27 patients within Dumfries and Galloway have waited more than 52 weeks to be seen by psychological services in NHS Dumfries and Galloway- and are still waiting, according to a new report out today (5th Dec).

The ‘Workforce Planning for Psychology Services in NHS Scotland’ report which details annual trends within mental health services highlighted that over 1,000 patients within Dumfries and Galloway are currently waiting to be seen by a psychological specialist with around 500 of those waiting above the current target of 18 weeks.

The current target of any patient awaiting no more than 18 weeks to be seen is being missed over 40% of the time, with patients and families being left in limbo.

The report revealed that on average patients are waiting 16 weeks from the point of being referred to a psychological specialist to actually being seen by one.

The report also showed that the total number of staff providing NHS services in Dumfries and Galloway has fallen from last year. In September 2016 4,221 staff were employed across all NHS services, that has fallen to 4,211.

In medical profession posts, there has been a drop of 10% in all its staff from 2016, whilst dental services has seen staff fall by 12%.

Speaking upon the report Colin Smyth MSP and Shadow Labour Health Spokesperson said:

“This is a deeply worrying report for Dumfries and Galloway NHS. After years of mismanagement of the NHS from the SNP, we are now seeing the consequences for patients. 

The idea that anyone has to wait over a year to have access to mental health services is shocking never mind 27 people in the region. 

If this Government was serious about mental health services, they would be ashamed of these findings. 

Someone requiring mental health services should not be treated differently from those waiting for health care for a physical condition but that is the reality for far too many people. 

We need to see more investment in early intervention such as ensuing access to a counsellor in all our secondary schools. Supporting people at early stage would ultimately reduce waiting lists in the long term. 

When you couple these figures with the fact that staffing in the NHS locally is not growing to meet demand, its shows the scale of the problems we face. 

With a new hospital on the way, it should be a really optimistic time for our NHS locally but sadly staff and patients are feeling the full force of the cuts to our NHS.”

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