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Mentally ill at risk in health 'lottery'.

Byline: KAY SMITH EXCLUSIVE

A DAMNING new report claims Scots schizophrenics are not being diagnosed quickly enough and are being denied vital support.

The report by the Clinical Standards Board for Scotland reveals potentially-dangerous schizophrenics are victims of a so-called "postcode lottery" system, where what treatment they get depends on where they live.

Ayrshire and Arran has been revealed as a blackspot for mental health care.

The findings will be published on Wednesday, just weeks after Christine Fulton, whose policeman husband Lewis was stabbed to death by a schizophrenic, called for new laws to govern the treatment of the mentally ill.

The CSB laid out 11 standards of care for schizophrenics a year ago - but their report shows the NHS is failing to meet the targets.

Dr Denise Coia, chairwoman of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland and a member of the CSB, said the big problem is a lack of non-drug psychological and social treatments for schizophrenics in certain areas of Scotland.

Adam Ingram, SNP MSP for South Scotland and chairman of the Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Mental Health - has now called for a mental health task force.

He said: "A lot of lip service is paid to mental health by the Scottish Executive as one of its top national clinical priorities but frankly the rhetoric does not match the reality."
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 14, 2002
Words:225
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