More people in North Ayrshire are now able to access mental health support funded by the SNP Government, through a Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) of four additional mental health workers in key settings recruited across North Ayrshire as of January 2019, as well as another ten mental health nurses across Ayrshire.
The North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership has advised that a further 4.6 WTE will be advertised in due course.
This puts the workforce on track to reach 800 additional mental health workers by 2022, in line with Action 15 of the SNP Government’s Mental Health Strategy. This contains a commitment to fund these positions in key settings, including all Accident and Emergency units, all GP practices, every police station custody suite, and in our prisons, ensuring that local provision and support is at the heart of service delivery.
The Mental Health Practitioner position is a completely new role being developed as part of the wider work around GP practices and therefore all these positions are new.
The SNP Government Action 15 funding has also funded the expansion of a pan-Ayrshire service, offering a direct link to Police Scotland when dealing with people in distress thought to be linked to mental health. In total for Ayrshire this resulted in an increase of 10 new mental health nurses, roughly a third of whom will be apportioned to North Ayrshire.
Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey MSP said:
“It’s hugely encouraging that we are on track to recruit 800 dedicated mental health staff by 2022, in line with the plans set out in our mental health strategy. I can speak from experience when I say a career helping support the mental health of people in need of care can be hugely rewarding.
“We are seeing an increasing demand for mental health support across Scotland in a variety of settings and I want to ensure we can provide the best possible care.
“Through our 10-year Mental Health Strategy we are committed to ensuring people get the right help at the right time, free from stigma, and where mental ill-health is treated with the same commitment as physical ailments.
“I welcome the progress made so far, with 39 out 40 actions in our strategy either complete or underway. But I’m determined to go further. We must ensure our services reflect these changing needs and recruitment of over 100 additional mental health workers is a promising step.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“These figures show that people in North Ayrshire are directly benefitting from this funding already, as each of these extra mental health workers and practitioners will have made a significant difference in the life of many patients over the past year.
“In the 2019/20 Programme for Government, the SNP Government has also committed to investing an additional £250 million over the next five years to further improve access to mental health support, including investment in additional workforce and in mental health in primary care.
“I look forward to the further increase in staff, so patients can not only be provided with better and faster treatment, while mental health issues can be prevented from escalating.”