SNP Government breaks promise to fund councils and health boards to reduce the use of anti-depressants by 10 per cent by 2009.

26 February 2010

Marlyn Glen has accused the SNP Government of "playing politics with people’s health" by " failing to fulfill a promise" that they would provide local councils and health boards with funding specifically to set up "counselling and talking therapies" services for people with depression, and so cut the number of anti-depressants prescribed "by 10 per cent by 2009"

Ms. Glen said that her correspondence with Dundee City Council and Angus Council, NHS Tayside and Dundee Community Health Partnership had revealed that neither the councils nor the health board received any such funding from the Scottish Government in 2008-09.

The 2007 SNP manifesto said that the party in government would support :

"the development of mental health and wellbeing services, such as counselling and talking therapies, in each community health partnership area, backed with ring-fenced funding to health boards and local authorities.

"With this support we aim to reduce the use of anti-depressants by 10 per cent by 2009."

However, figures obtained by Ms. Glen from ISD Scotland ( the Scottish Government’s statistical agency ) showed that the number of items of anti-depressants prescribed in both Dundee and Angus increased in the last year.

In Dundee , the number rose from 126,933 to 133,852, an increase of over 5 per cent, between 2007-08 and 2008-09

In Angus, the number rose from 77,797 to 80,887, an increase of just under 4 per cent in the same period.

Ms. Glen said,

"The local councils and health board were to be provided with special ‘ring fenced’ funding by the Scottish Government specifically for the purpose of providing ‘counselling and talking therapies’

"The councils received not a penny of funding for these from the Scottish Government."

She continued,

"This particular broken promise stands out from the many others because it is playing politics with people’s health.

"Depression affects many people in Scotland, and one in five of us will experience it at some time in our lives.

"Last year around 321,000 people in Scotland contacted their doctor for help with depression."

Ms. Glen said that she would be raising the absence of funding for Dundee and Angus councils and NHS Tayside with Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon, and calling on her to make the funds available to them.


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