The SSSC published the 2017 Mental Health Officers’ Report today (Friday 31 August 2018).
The statistics show the number of mental health officers (MHO) has increased by 3.2% to 745 in December 2017. Despite this more local authorities reported a shortfall in MHO provision.
Lorraine Gray, SSSC Chief Executive said: ‘It is good to see the increase in the number of practising MHOs to 745 and that 60 trainees achieved the MHO Award in 2017.
‘However more local authorities are reporting a shortfall in MHOs this year and it is significant that across the whole of Scotland the equivalent of 41 workers doing full time MHO work are needed to fill the gap.’
Key points from this year’s MHO report
- The number of practising MHOs has increased by 3.2% from 722 in December 2016 to 745 in December 2017.
- The estimated average hours worked by MHOs on MHO duties in 2017 dropped from 17 hours per week to 16 hours.
- The number of practising social workers (ie main grade social workers and senior social workers) working as MHOs remained constant at 10.4% between 2016 and 2017.
- There was an increase in the number of authorities with 22 reporting a shortfall in MHOs. The total additional hours per week required to address shortfalls increased by 14% from 2016 to around 1,470 hours a week in 2017. Assuming an average full time working week is 36 hours, about 41 extra full time exclusive MHOs would be required across Scotland to fully address this reported shortfall.
- Almost 96% of MHOs were based in their local Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) in December 2017, compared with 67% in 2016.
- As in 2016 the number of trainees who achieved the MHO Award in 2017 (60) was above the average seen in recent years (52).
The data in the report will help inform work on recommendations six and seven of the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan Part 2.
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 4 December 2017, excluding long-term absentees
- MHO trainees, leavers, vacancies and staffing shortfalls
- some key aspects of the work carried out by MHOs in Scotland.