Hundreds of people in Scotland waiting longer than six weeks to start treatment for drug or alcohol problems

The latest drug and alcohol waiting times for treatment in Scotland have been published and show that there is an increase in people waiting longer than six weeks to access treatment.

The figures, published by ISD Scotland, state that of the 10,550 people who started their first treatment in the most recent quarter, 6.1% waited over three weeks.

  • For the 6,105 people seeking alcohol treatment, 5.6% waited over three weeks.
  • For the 4,445 people seeking drug treatment, 6.9% waited over three weeks.

According to the figures, some people have waited more than 18 weeks for treatment to start.

Ten NHS Boards met the Local Delivery Plan standard. Three NHS Boards did not meet the standard: NHS Grampian, NHS Highland and NHS Lothian.

At the end of this quarter, 2,547 people were waiting to start their first drug or alcohol treatment, of which 364 (14.3%) had been waiting more than six weeks. This is an increase from the same quarter last year when 236 (9.4%) people were waiting more than six weeks.

In prisons, 910 people started their first drug or alcohol treatment between October-December 2018 with 2.2% waiting over three weeks.

The government’s Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick told The Scotsman that the standard for drug and alcohol treatment waiting times “continues to be met on a national basis”.

He added: “The Scottish Government has invested over £746 million to tackle problem alcohol and drug use since 2008, with much of that provided via NHS health boards to Alcohol and Drug Partnerships for investment in local prevention, treatment and recovery support services.

“In addition, the new drug and alcohol treatment strategy is being backed with funding of an additional £20 million each year. The Scottish Government Alcohol and Drug Partnership Support Team continues to engage with the areas which have not met the standard for this quarter.”

Click to read the figures in full.

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