The statistics show the number of mental health officers (MHO) has gone up by 2% to 670 in December 2015.
The increase comes following 2014 having the lowest number of MHOs since 2005. Anna Fowlie, SSSC Chief Executive said:
‘Although the overall number of MHOs has gone up this report shows the challenges facing local authorities as the data from the 21 authorities that answered the shortfall question shows the overall shortfall is at its highest since this data was first collected in 2008.
‘The report also shows the number of MHOs aged 45 or more is at its highest level for three years so we need to make sure enough new trainees are coming into MHO work in future.’
Key points from this year’s MHO report.
- The number of practising MHOs has increased by 2.0% to 670 in December 2015. The staffing whole time equivalent (WTE) has increased by 1.1%, from 602.9 on 1 December 2014 to 609.3 on 7 December 2015.
- The MHO WTE rate per 100,000 people remains at 11.3 in 2015, lower than the high of 13.0 seen in 2011.
In 2015, 21 of Scotland’s local authorities reported a shortfall in their MHO staff resources, the same as in 2014. It would take approximately 40 additional full time exclusive MHOs to fill the shortfalls, which are at their highest level during the period covered by this report (2012-2015). Adults with Incapacity (AWI) was once again the most commonly reported specific shortfall area.
- The number of MHOs involved in AWI work has increased by 8% from 2014 and now makes up 80% of the total workforce. Significantly higher proportions of the MHOs working in AWI and mentally disordered offender (MDO) areas belong to mental health teams.
- The proportion of male MHOs stands at a third in 2015, the highest proportion seen during (2012-2015).
- In 2015 the proportion of MHOs aged 45 or more stands at three-quarters of the total workforce, the highest proportion seen during 2012-2015.
- A total of 53 MHOs left the workforce between 1 December 2014 and 7 December 2015, a reduction of 15% over the previous year.
- Of these, about a quarter retired, about a quarter resigned and just under a third left for other reasons such as a career break or secondment.
The report is based on administrative data collected by the SSSC directly from local authorities as part of the annual local authority social work services survey (LASWS). It gives a picture of:
- the number of practising MHOs in post at 1 December 2015, excluding long-term absentees
- MHO trainees, leavers, vacancies and staffing shortfalls
- some key aspects of the work carried out by MHOs in Scotland.