FMQs: Sturgeon Under Fire Over Delayed Mental Health Audit

The First Minister found herself under fire at this week's First Ministers Questions, after figures showed that 5,000 referrals to children’s mental health services had been rejected in the time since the SNP promised to review the process. 

Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, attacked the government for having “abdicated” responsibility for Scotland’s most vulnerable children.

The Scottish government promised to review the numbers of rejected referrals back in March 2017, but in the year since no report has been released. 

Figures show that there have been 5,410 rejections by mental health services for children since that time, with 1,649 in Greater Glasgow alone, something that the Scottish Association for Mental Health has labeled “astonishing”. 

Commenting on the figures, Mr. Leonard said: “Up and down the country every year, thousands of children and young people are referred to our National Health Service for mental health treatment.

And every year thousands are turned away, yet this Government does not know the reasons why.

Nicola Sturgeon once claimed she had a ‘sacred responsibility’ to make sure every young person gets the same chance to succeed. 

She has abdicated that responsibility to some of the most vulnerable children in Scotland.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie agreed, asking the First Minister: “Why are mental health services getting worse in this country?”

In response, Ms. Sturgeon promised that the audit will be completed and published by the 30th of June this year at the latest.

The Scottish government has pointed to £500,000 in extra funding that Mental health services are set to receive, but critics argue that this doesn’t go nearly far enough.

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