Public Audit Committee to probe adult mental health services

A report found significant challenges face the sector including difficulty developing person-centred care.

Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee to probe adult mental health services

The Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee will begin a series of roundtable evidence sessions on Scotland’s under-pressure adult mental health services on Thursday.

This approach follows an evidence session with the Auditor General for Scotland and the Accounts Commission on their joint report at the end of September.

The report highlighted the significant challenges facing the sector – including the fragmented picture of adult mental health services, which makes it difficult to develop person-centred care.

The report said that access to services “remains slow and complicated for many people”, particularly those in rural communities, living in poverty and ethnic minorities.

Public Audit Committee Convener Richard Leonard MSP said: “The Committee was very concerned by the evidence it heard in September.

“That’s why the Committee has decided to focus on Scotland’s vital mental health services over the next three weeks. We will be hearing directly from those working on the front lines of mental health to better understand the challenges they face.

“The Scottish Government spent around £1.4bn adult mental health services in 2021/22. However, a lack of data makes it hard to measure the impact and outcomes of this significant public expenditure.

“As the Public Audit Committee, it is our job to make sure that public money is being spent efficiently and effectively on vital public services, including mental health support.

“These sessions will allow us to examine the Government’s spending in this area, gather a range of evidence, and put this directly to the Chief Executive of NHS Scotland.”

The Auditor General and Accounts Commission also highlighted a lack of joined up working between mental health services and housing, welfare and employability services, something which makes it challenging to “address and prevent” some of the causes of poor mental health.

The Committee will take evidence from a wide range of witnesses, including mental health organisations and charities, professional bodies, Police Scotland, NHS boards and COSLA.

The Committee will then put what they have heard to the Chief Executive of NHS Scotland and Director-General Health and Social Care Caroline Lamb at its meeting on December 14.

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.

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