A Fife patient has waited almost a year to see a consultant psychiatrist, new figures have revealed.
According to a Freedom of Information request by The Courier there are 647 people on the waiting list for an appointment.
The longest wait to be seen is just sunder of a year, with one patient waiting 335 days – although Fife health and social care partnership divisional general manager Julie Paterson said data for 2016/17 showed there was an average wait was 64 days.
The problem is exacerbated by vacancies – six of the 31 posts are unfilled.
Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie said: “People with poor mental issue in Fife are being failed to a degree that is difficult to comprehend.”
Meanwhile Labour MSP Claire Baker said it was time the SNP stopped dragging its heels as the growing mental health problem in Scotland is a scandal which has to be addressed by the Scottish Government.
Both politicians compared the delays in getting help with that of a physical injury.
“If I had a broken leg I would be treated by the NHS within hours,” Mr Rennie said.
“If I had to wait for a year not only would I be in agony but I would also suffer permanent disfigurement and would need many more visits to the NHS to put right the damage to my leg.
“Yet because it is mental health, we can’t see the injury and the stigma associated with the condition it seems to be accepted that people should wait for a year. This has got to change.”
Mrs Baker added: “The level of vacancies doesn’t help waiting times, but even at full complement there will still be too many patients waiting for vital care in Fife.”
Ms Paterson said mental health services are being redesigned and the partnership is “committed to ensuring that the needs of individuals are matched to the level of care they require whilst ensuring a responsive and accessible service”.
There is an urgent care assessment team which provides a response on a 24-hour basis to those in critical need and urgent referrals usually have an appointment within one week.
For all other referrals the average wait was 64 days.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our vision is of a Scotland where people can get the right help at the right time, expect recovery, and fully enjoy their rights, free from discrimination and stigma.”
Trainee recruitment into core roles had increased and 82% of posts have been filled, with a rise in the number of psychiatry consultant roles across Scotland of 21.2%.
He added the Government was committed to a £150 million investment over five years in improving mental health, with additional funding reaching £35m by 2022 for 800 additional mental health workers in key settings.
A controversial restraint technique has been used on patients in NHS Tayside psychiatric hospitals almost once a week.
In the first 10 months of 2017, 53 patients were subjected to “floor — face-down” restraints in psychiatric institutes across the region.
The practice can be dangerous as a person is restrained, face down, with the weight of one or more people on top of them, which can lead to the person’s breathing being restricted.
The technique is generally carried out when a person is acting as a danger to themselves or others.
In the 2016, it was used 39 times across Tayside’s mental health facilities.
Research by the mental health charity Mind found that some mental health trusts across the UK no longer use face-down restraint because it is considered “too dangerous and traumatic” and the charity previously called for a ban.
Calum Irving, director of See Me — which tackles mental health stigma and discrimination — said: “When people are struggling with their mental health they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, free from discrimination of any kind.
“This is especially true in health and social care settings, therefore restraint should always be a last resort and every effort made to avoid it.”
Colin McKay, chief executive of The Mental Welfare Commission (MWC) for Scotland, which protects and promotes the human rights of people with mental illness, said: “Any form of restraint must be legally justified, and be the minimum which is reasonably necessary, for the minimum possible time.”
A spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership said: “In some instances, it is necessary for staff to use a reasonable level of force to restrict a person’s movement to avoid a greater harm occurring.
“The ‘floor – face down’ restraint is a response to a high level of physical risk from a patient and is used only when all other options have failed. It is generally considered to be the last resort and is used for the shortest-possible time to ensure the safety of patients and staff.
“All physical interventions are taught from the perspective of being the last resort for the shortest period of time using the lowest level of force/restriction and the smallest number of staff.”
More and more people are talking about mental health, and that’s brilliant. However, there’s still a lot to learn about it – and it seems handling how you talk about ‘recovery’ plays a big factor in this.
I was recently listening to the radio when the hosts started discussing mental illness and recovery. They talked about how many people are able to recover from mental illness, without actually disclosing with mental illnesses they were talking about. Personally, I believe this to be somewhat dangerous because despite making their listeners more aware of mental illness, they gave off the impression that all mental illnesses can be recovered from. And this is simply not the case.
Many mental illnesses are chronic illnesses – they are lifelong or persistent illnesses that don’t just go away. Part of the problem contributing to the misunderstanding of mental illness is that we don’t realise this. We’re still not seeing mental illness as a real illness, as we would a physical one. If we did, people suffering from them would believe they’re going to be taken seriously when they finally find the courage to seek help. And so, we should move this process along by learning that there is a total difference between recovery and remission. In most cases, mental illness is incurable. Disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety are life-long illnesses that have no cure. Sure, there are ways to help a person living with a mental illness such as these – through means of therapy, psychiatry and medication. But this doesn’t cure the underlying cause, it simply helps to balance it out and gives a person living with a mental illness a chance at an easier way of life. But even with all of that help, a person can still crash.
I live with bipolar disorder, and I take a cocktail of medications every night – mood stabilisers, anti-psychotics and anxiety tablets mainly. While most of the time, these keep me balanced and feeling okay, there are times when it stops working. I’ll go into a hypomanic episode or a depressive, and I can only wait out the erratic ride until it’s finally over. After several weeks, I’ll be back to my ‘stable’ self. This does not mean I’ve recovered from my bipolar disorder. It simply means I’m in remission. And this applies for most other serious mental illnesses, too. Remission is the temporary diminution of symptoms of mental illness. At least, the most extreme of symptoms. A person can feel as okay as they possibly can for days, weeks, months and even years – and still experience symptoms of their mental illness. And people need to realise this when talking about mental illness. It’ll help people finally realise that the likes of running, eating better and drinking more water aren’t anything more than a helping factor in feeling better within yourself.
He said: “I can’t believe it. I put the feelers out on social media and I am very lucky that there are some amazing people that follow me who shared it and people got in touch to offer me room.
“I’ve been on the receiving end of so much human kindness over the last four months. Since I’ve come to Scotland I have really noticed an increase in nice people – everyone is very neighbourly and can’t seem to do enough for me.”
After spending Wednesday night in a house in Stanley, he has further beds lined up in Perth and then Kinross. He intends to travel to Edinburgh but is still attempting to find another bed for the night en-route.
Jake said his experience of mental health and fundraising have inspired him to make a career change after he finishes his journey.
He said: “I had a whole career planned out in hospitality – I was running a bar in Colchester in Essex and then I took over a place in east London and the plan was to work my way up and become a manager and an owner.
“But my mental health deteriorated and I got signed off work. I just burnt out mass
“I don’t think I’ll go back to it. I’ve really fallen in love with the mental health world – the charities I’ve been working with – and I’ve started to feel I want to get actively involved in that as a job.
The following video was lifted from STV’s North Tonight. the quality of the video is not brilliant, however, it would be good to receive some opinion regarding the training of police officers to make the decision whether an individual with mental health issues should be referred to Carseview by means of a telephone conversation. Also it should be noted that often a person may not express the anxiety they are currently experiencing over the phone. Often the physical actions of an individual can reveal much more than what a telephone consultation can.
In addition to the article/video above, I received this observation regarding the subject from a friend of a friend on Facebook. Please share any opinion or experience you have regarding this particular subject in our contact section. Which you can find here