Around £54m will be made available to improve access to mental health services, particularly focusing on the young, first minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
Before the spending review, the Scottish government had earmarked an additional £100m for mental health services over the next five years, but this has now been increased to £150m.
The additional £54.1m investment will be spent on improving access to psychological therapies for all ages, including children and adolescents, she said.
The aim is to treat an additional 10,000 patients in the first year, rising to 20,000 in 2019-20, according to Ms Sturgeon.
“Delivering the very best mental health services is a priority for this government”
NHS Boards will be expected to use the money to improve capacity to see more patients more quickly, work to redesign local services to be “more efficient, effective and sustainable”, and improve workforce supply and train existing staff.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Delivering the very best mental health services is a priority for this government. It is vital that the health service is properly equipped to give those who need support and treatment access to mental health services as early as possible.
“This significant increase in funding will aim to offer treatment for an additional 10,000 patients in the first year, an increase of around 25% on those currently using the services,” she said.
“Our additional funding will also support the workforce and ensure services are designed in the most effective way to meet patients’ needs,” she added.
Lee Knifton, head of the Mental Health Foundation in Scotland, said: “Children and young people face more challenges to their mental health than ever, and demand for services at all levels is high.
“Improved access and workforce skills should ensure services are both available, and responsive to what young people want and need,” he said.
The £54m investment will be allocation in the following way:
- £24.7m over four years for NHS Boards to improve capacity to see more people more quickly
- £4.8m over four years will provide, through Health Improvement Scotland, in-depth improvement support that will help boards redesign services to be more efficient and effective and sustainable
- £24.6m for workforce development to improve workforce supply and train existing staff to deliver children and young people services, as well as psychological therapies for all ages. This includes funding to backfill staff who are released for training and for salaries for new staff