Mental health targets ‘help improve care’

SETTING targets for mental health will help put the issue on a par with physical health, a leading organisation has said.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy in Edinburgh welcomes the Scottish Government’s decision to introduce waiting times goals for a range of conditions, saying it would end the “postcode lottery” for care.

However, the organisation said there was potential for other, less common psychological conditions to be included.

Adding mental conditions to the list of health improvement, efficiency, access and treatment targets – which include the likes of cancer and A&E wards – would also make health boards more accountable for the prompt treatment of mental health, the organisation said.

Its lead adviser for Scotland, Shane Buckeridge, said: “It is estimated that at any one time there are some 850,000 Scottish people with mental health problems, and until now it has been a postcode lottery in terms of what is available, leading to a huge disparity in service provision across Scotland.

“The new targets will hopefully ensure that all patients have access to the services they need in a timely manner.”