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Child mental health waits significantly worse despite SNP commitment

Child and adolescent mental health waiting times in Scotland have worsened significantly, despite the Scottish Government’s commitment to improve them a year ago.

The latest figures from ISD show that only 69.7% of patients are now being seen within 18 weeks, a significant decline since the previous quarter where 73.6 percent of children were seen within 18 weeks.

The figures have also revealed that the number of children who waited over a year for mental health treatment have risen dramatically.

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.”

These figures also underline Scotland’s latest suicide statistics for 2018 which revealed deaths of 15 to 24-year-olds have risen from 64 to 96, and by 15 per cent for all children and adults.

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

Annie Wells, Scottish Conservative mental health spokesman said:

 

“This is another disastrous set of mental health statistics from the SNP.

“Almost a third of children are being seen too late, meaning that their problems will have worsened significantly by the time they get help.

“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 the First Minister committed to improving mental health services for children but now more children are waiting longer, and more young people are tragically taking their own lives.

“The repeated promises of the SNP are just hot air – the failure of the SNP to manage our health service is nothing short of catastrophic.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

The full information can be found here - Around seven out of ten (69.7%) children and young people were seen within 18 weeks, compared to 73.6% for the previous quarter and 67.5% for the quarter ending June 2018. The Scottish Government standard states that 90% of children and young people should start treatment within 18 weeks of referral to CAMHS - https://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Mental-Health/Publications/2019-09-03/2019-09-03-CAMHS-WaitingTimes-Summary.pdf?

2018 programme for government can be found here – https://www.gov.scot/publications/delivering-today-investing-tomorrow-governments-programme-scotland-2018-19/

The First Minster said; “Mental health is just as important as physical health and we recognise that, right now, support for our children and young people in particular is not good enough. This Programme for Government commits to changing that. We plan a significant investment in the range of support available to our young people, which will see issues tackled earlier and where possible in the community, while ensuring speedier access to specialist care for those who need it.”

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