SERVICES for patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) in some parts of Scotland are not good enough, a health watchdog has warned.

The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland hit out as it published a new report highlighting “challenges” in caring for sufferers.

The Commission noted delays in diagnosis, saying that for most patients it took more than five years from first having symptoms to being diagnosed with the condition.

The availability of different therapies, and the waiting times for access to them, also varied across the country, the report said.

Meanwhile few BPD sufferers have crisis plans in place, with patients also saying they are “treated with less sympathy and understanding than people with other mental health problems”.

An estimated one in 100 people can suffer from BPD, making it one of the most common types of personality disorders.

Sufferers can experience acute spells of anger, depression and anxiety that last from a few hours to days, with these symptoms often resulting in impulsive behaviours and leading to patients having problems in their relationships with other people.

Alison Thomson, executive director for nursing at the Mental Welfare Commission, said: “We found that stigma is a reality in the lives of people with borderline personality disorder, and its effects can be dramatic. It affects confidence and self-esteem, and it was the most commonly reported issue to trigger a crisis.

“We found many challenges – services in some areas are not good enough. Addressing our recommendations for change will need a concerted effort by organisations across Scotland.

“But the report also shows what can be achieved when people with BPD do have access to effective therapy, support and understanding. I hope that this fact will help drive all parties to make these changes, so they can improve the outcome for people with this diagnosis.”

The commission has now recommended that personality disorders be included in plans for mental health services, and said patients with BPD should have “equal access to and quality of service across geographical areas”.

It called for anyone diagnosed with the condition to be offered “timely access to evidence-based psychological therapy”.

It also said there needs to be wider training of general and specialist staff “looking at the values and attitudes that they hold about people with BPD”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “People with borderline personality disorder deserve the right care and treatment at all times.

“We want anyone with BPD to be able to get the help they need quickly and are already taking forward work to address the report’s recommendation and will respond to the Commission with an update on our work.”