Staff shortages threaten law reform

The Scottish parliament’s finance committee was warned last week
that a serious shortage of specialist staff in the sector could
damage plans to reform current mental health laws.

The warning came as a group of MSPs examined the funding available
for implementation of the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill, launched
in September, which promised the most radical reform of the service
for 40 years.

Mental health professionals are adamant that there would need to be
a big rise in the number of mental welfare officers and consultants
employed in Scotland in order to implement the proposed changes.

“There is a concern that the tribunal system may pull staff away
from the service,” said Dr Lindsay Burley, chairperson of the NHS
Scotland Board chief executives’ group.

Jim Brown, head of the Scottish executive’s public health division,
insisted that potential workforce problems were being taken into

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