Mental health cases’ eight month wait

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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Measures have been taken to reduce waiting times for those with non-urgent mental health problems.

In the House of Keys, Peter Karran (Lib Van, Onchan) asked why mental health patients who do not require urgent admission are waiting six to nine months for help.

Health and Social Care Minister Howard Quayle replied that all referrals to the Mental Health Service are judged on their individual merit.

He said that demand for the service has increased with referrals for the year 2013-14 totalling 3,012, up 16.1 per cent on the previous year.

Mr Quayle confirmed there had been an eight month waiting list for general adult psychology and five months for counselling.

But he told MHKs: ‘Managing increasing demand and expectation is a challenge. However, the service is progressing a number of initiatives to assist in this regard.

‘Over the previous three weeks the appointment of a full-time clinical psychologist and the addition of two locum therapists to cover maternity leave have enabled the psychological therapies service, previously with an eight month waiting list, to reduce waiting times for appointments.’

He said service areas also provide a duty officer to manage inquiries specific to individual patients. This includes cases where risk has changed or increased, requiring a more urgent response.

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