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5,000 Scottish kids 'denied mental health support' on SNP's watch, says Leonard

FIVE THOUSAND Scottish kids have been denied support by mental health services since ministers promised a review of rejected referrals, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said today.

After concerns were raised about the number of children being turned away by NHS mental health services, the Scottish government promised an audit in March last year.

Now figures have emerged showing that between April and December 2017, an additional 5,410 referrals were rejected.

At First Minister’s Questions, Mr Leonard demanded to know why the report had faced a six-month delay.

“Every year thousands are turned away — yet this government does not know the reasons why,” he said.

“It’s been over a year and this audit report is nowhere to be seen.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon insisted that “work is underway” on the report and it would be published later this month.

“I hope Richard Leonard ... will welcome the progress being made,” she told the chamber.

But Mr Leonard hit back: “Nicola Sturgeon once claimed she had a sacred responsibility to make sure every young person gets the same chance to succeed.

“She has abdicated that responsibility to some of the most vulnerable children in Scotland.”

Ms Sturgeon was also grilled by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie over the number of adults facing lengthy delays for mental health services. He said there were over 1,000 adults waiting for more than a year.

“The number has doubled since the First Minister appointed a dedicated mental health minister [in 2014],” Mr Rennie said.

“People with poor mental health deserve an answer.”

Ms Sturgeon said the average wait for accessing such services was far lower, but that the government would continue to work to further reduce delays.


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