Leonard: Sturgeon failing on mental health
The Labour leader revealed that there have been almost 25,000 referrals for treatment rejected since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister.
Richard Leonard announced the numbers on the back of a report on the condition of mental health services, published today by the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission, which has been branded as "damning" by Labour.
It also follows a review, published in June, showing that some young people were being turned away from mental health treatment because they did not appear suicidal.
Leonard questioned why it has taken four years for the government to act on what is a crisis in mental health services for young people.
“Today’s expert report makes clear that access to Scotland’s mental health services for children and young people has not got better during Nicola Sturgeon’s time as First Minister, it’s got worse." said Leonard.
“Almost 25,000 referrals for mental health treatment for young people have been rejected since Nicola Sturgeon took office First Minister."
“Today’s report calls for a “step change”, and Labour will work with the government to deliver the changes we need. That’s why we pressed for Councillors in schools and for a review of these rejected cases. But the reality is the government has been too slow act, because it did not take this issue seriously enough"
“Nicola Sturgeon has been too slow to act, and as a result has let these children and young people down for over a decade. The First Minister owes a sincere apology to these young people for her failure to act.”
The First Minister apologised to those effected, but said she did not agree with Labour's view
“I regret and apologise to any patient whether they are an adult of a child who is not seen by the NHS, whether for mental health problems or physical health problems, as quickly as they should be, and I say that unreservedly." said Sturgeon, adding: “However, demand has risen faster than I think anybody necessarily anticipated, which I think is a good thing, so we recognise we must do even more, not just to build the capacity of specialist services but also to build the capacity of community services."