I do not accept Liam McArthur’s characterisation of the work as “sluggish”. He knows that our “Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027” outlines our commitment to funding 800 additional mental health workers in key settings by 2021-22. We are making good progress and are on course to deliver that commitment; as of July, 485 whole-time equivalent mental health posts had been recruited. I am certain that the figure will now be higher. We are at 60 per cent of the target and there is still time to go.
As for the numbers who are recruited for police stations, although we have committed to providing funding for 800 additional mental health workers—to which action 15 of the
“Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027” commits us—workforce planning is conducted by integration authorities according to their population’s needs. If Liam McArthur thinks that more mental health workers should be in X, Y or Z custody setting, he should make that known to the relevant local integration authorities, and we can take up that conversation.
Progress on action 15—to recruit mental health workers—has been positive. There is still a way to go to meet the commitment in 2021-22, but I am certain that more such workers will be recruited to police custody settings.