Scottish watchdog slams care trends

Scotland’s mental health watchdog has hit out at the rises in the number of children held in non-specialist facilities and the use of emergency treatment orders.

Between July and September 2006, 551 emergency orders were issued in Scotland, 34 more than in the previous quarter and a 25 per cent rise on the same period in 2005.

The orders are used to detain people until a doctor or social worker can assess them.

Donald Lyons, director of the Mental Welfare Commission, questioned whether health boards were doing enough to ensure that practitioners were available as quickly as they should be.

The number of under-18s treated in non-specialist facilities also rose by nearly a third to 50, most being 16- and 17-year-olds treated in adult mental health units. This compared with 35 in the previous quarter.

Lyons said: “There aren’t enough specialist facilities in Scotland but there may also be a problem with our global response to young people in crisis.”

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