Mental Health Officers(MHO) survey, Scotland 2011-12

This survey collects information about the number of qualified MHOs who are practising within Scotland.

2. Main points

MHO Workforce

  • The number of practicing MHOs has decreased from 728 on the 31st March 2011 to 688 on the 31st March 2012, this is a decrease of 5.5%.
  • The staffing whole time equivalent (WTE) has decreased from 687.75 on the 31st March 2011 to 635.44 on the 31st March 2012, this is a decrease of around 8%.
  • The reduction in staff numbers has only impacted the non-Specialist Mental Health teams. In 2011, there were 345 MHOs compared to 304 in 2012 an reduction of nearly 12%. This has resulted in a shift to more MHOs working in Specialist Mental Health teams. In 2008 52% of MHOs worked in Specialist Mental Health teams, this has increased in 2012 to 56%.
  • The number of MHO exclusive positions has increased from 131 in 2011 to 167 in 2012, this is the highest number of exclusive MHO positions that has been recorded in this publication. The number of unfilled "exclusive" MHO vacancies has increased from 12.3 in 2011 to 16 in 2012, an increase of 30%.
  • At the 31st March 2012, 73% of MHOs were aged 45 and over. 70% of MHOs were female and male MHOs were on average older with 78% being aged 45 and over.
  • The number of trainee MHOs has increased from 46 in 2011 to 59 in 2012 but there is still a substantial decrease from 105 MHOs in 2008.
  • A total of 90 MHOs left the workforce in 2011/12, of which around a third of MHOs left due to retirement and around a fifth of MHOs resigned. This is an increase of 76% from the 51 leavers reported in 2011.

Work completed by MHOs

  • The number of MHOs on daytime rota duty has decreased from 529 in 2011 to 490 in 2012, a decrease of just over 7%.
  • The number of MHOs working on assessment & treatment orders has shown an increase of 23% between 2011(171 MHOs) and 2012 (210 MHOs). The other two areas of work reported within this publication have both shown decreases between 2011 and 2012, compulsion orders (22%) and designated MHO for restricted patients (26%).
  • The majority of mentally disordered offenders (MDO) cases are undertaken by MHOs on Specialist Mental Health teams, this decreased from 82% in 2008 to 73% 2010 before rising in 2011 to 78% but has fallen this year to 69%.


Email: Jonathan Glassford

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