Vulnerable children are waiting too long for access to vital treatment

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More than a quarter of children and young people are waiting longer than 18 weeks for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services across Ayrshire and Arran.

It comes as figures from the Scottish Government’s Information Services D ivision (ISD) Scotland show that in the three months to June 2019, 87 children and young people were forced to wait longer than 18 weeks for CAMHS in NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

This meant that 27 per cent of all children and young people referred for mental health services waited longer than 18 weeks.

The statistics come exactly a year after the Scottish Government’s major commitment in the programme for government to improving mental health services for children and young people, specifically promising “speedier access to specialist care for those who need it”.

The Scottish Government standard states that 90 per cent of children and young people should start treatment within 18 weeks of referral to CAMHS.

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said this is completely unacceptable.

He said: “The waiting times for access to mental health services for children are a scandal.

“The 18-week target is supposed to be a legal guarantee yet a quarter of children and young people locally are not being given the care they need when they were promised it and that is nothing short of a disgrace.

“The longer a child has to wait for treatment with mental health issues the more difficult and longer their recovery will be.

The SNP Government need to get a grip and properly fund our local NHS to help them tackle this scandal.

“In the wake of the worst CAMHS figures last year they promised to fund school counsellors and wider mental health teams but even after a year the funding is still to be allocated to Ayrshire’s three local authorities and not one school counsellor has yet been employed. We need more action from this SNP Scottish Government rather than just words.”

Brian Whittle MSP said: “This is another disastrous set of mental health statistics from the SNP. Vulnerable children across Ayrshire are waiting too long for access to vital treatment.

“The health secretary has already admitted that the SNP is doing too little too late to tackle child and adolescent mental health issues.

“Last year Nicola Sturgeon committed to improving mental health services for children but now more children are waiting longer, with potentially devastating consequences.

“These figures are the latest in a long line of failures by the SNP to perform when it comes to the NHS and patients are paying the price.”