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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-06031: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 January 2017

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the announcement by the UK Government of a review of the health debt form, which means that patients are charged up to £300 by a GP for documentation to prove to debt collectors that they have mental health issues, whether it has plans to conduct a similar review.

Answered by: Shona Robison 19 January 2017

The Scottish Government and BMA agree that a new GP contract should free up GP time to focus on those elements of medical care that really require GP involvement – including complex care for people with mental health problems and co-morbidities including mental ill health.

We are working with a range of partners to make sure people reach the most appropriate professional to meet their health care – and wider support – needs. For people in debt crisis with mental health problems, the most appropriate support may come from practice based mental health professionals, Occupational Therapists or support workers like Links Workers. The Scottish Government is committed to recruiting at least 250 Community Links Workers to work in GP surgeries and direct people to local services and support.

A meeting took place on place on 8 December 2016 between Ms Watt, Minister for Mental Health and voluntary sector representatives to discuss the inclusion of the Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form in the prescribed list of forms in the GP contract. It was agreed that a charity representative would open dialogue with credit agencies towards enabling completion of forms by health professionals rather than restricting to GPs.