Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

EXCLUSIVE: Ministers urged to intervene as ‘chronic’ psychiatric staff shortages at NHS Tayside revealed

Post Thumbnail

Ministers have been urged to intervene over ‘chronic’ shortages of mental health staff at NHS Tayside after it emerged 14 out of 17 general adult psychiatry roles at the board are unfilled.

Health bosses confirmed there is currently a quota for 25 consultant psychiatry positions at facilities across the region, including the 17 general adult roles.

A further two jobs in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) at NHS Tayside have been vacant since March last year and it is understood staff shortages have significantly worsened in recent months.

General adult psychiatry vacancies have gone from two in June 2018 to five in September the same year, eight in March and June 2019 to 14 currently.

Figures from June 2019 also show a further two vacancies in old age psychiatry, one in forensic psychiatry and one in psychiatry of learning disability. It is not clear whether any of these have since been filled.

NHS Tayside said it is attempting to plug the gaps “while continuing to try to recruit” by using locum doctors from other regions, developing the advanced nurse practitioner role and working to introduce video consultations for children.

A damning independent report into mental healthcare provided by NHS Tayside and its integration joint boards released earlier this month warned staff shortages posed a “major risk” to services.

The review, led by Dr David Strang following campaigning from bereaved family members, called for a radical redesign of how mental health is treated by the board.

Dr David Strang.

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said the report “laid bare the shocking state of mental health services in Tayside” and insisted “chronic staff shortages” would do nothing to allay campaigners’ fears.

She called on mental health minister Clare Haughey to “urgently address Parliament on these serious matters”.

Ms Lennon said: “Scottish Labour has urged the Scottish Government to intervene, as the board has repeatedly ignored recommendations.

“Nicola Sturgeon says ministers continue to monitor progress, but this doesn’t look like progress. The mental health minister must urgently address Parliament on these serious matters. Patients, families and frontline staff deserve no less.”

Scottish Conservative mental health spokeswoman Annie Wells said the vacancy list is “stark proof of shambolic workforce planning”.

She said: “The people on the front line at NHS Tayside are doing an incredible job in totally unacceptable conditions. But papering over the cracks won’t work when human lives are at stake.

“Following the Strang review, the SNP government have an opportunity to reverse their woeful decision making.

“All political parties have agreed to make mental health a priority, yet the only ones with any power have completely failed to do so.”

Conservative MSP Annie Wells.

NHS Tayside said many health boards across Scotland have been affected by a “national shortage” in some specialist services and professions.

It stated services are “provided by a multidisciplinary team of clinical psychologists, community mental health nurses, community support workers and other medical staff”.

The health board said it recently recruited additional CAMHS staff to improve service delivery and waiting times, and is looking to introduce face-to-face video appointments for children and young people “to assess people sooner”.

A spokeswoman added: “While we are continuing to try to recruit psychiatrists, we are looking at how we can make best use of locum doctors and also how we develop the advanced nurse practitioner role.”

The Scottish Government said NHS Tayside had accepted in full the recommendations of Dr Strang’s report and the specialist has agreed to undertake a progress update in February 2021 to assess whether the required improvements have been made.

It said Clare Haughey will update parliament on progress “shortly”.

A spokeswoman said: “Since 2007, the number of psychiatric consultants working in NHS Scotland has increased by 21.9%, and in NHS Tayside, psychiatric consultants are up 26.1%.

“NHS Boards continue to make every effort to recruit to vacant posts, including through national and international recruitment.

“Between now and 2021‑22, 800 additional mental health workers will be employed to improve access to dedicated mental health professionals across key settings including A&E, GP practices, police station custody suites and prisons.

“In January 2018, we announced an 11% increase in training places for mental health nurses from 465 to 516, and we fund the Open University to deliver a pre-registration programme for almost 80 nursing students including for mental health, particularly in remote and rural areas.

“We are also undertaking a marketing campaign to encourage recruitment into health and social care careers.”