Scottish Liberal Democrats have warned that the Scottish Government is failing children and young people with mental health problems as recent published figures showed health boards have failed to meet targets in accessing crucial Child and Adolescent Mental Health service (CAMHS) .
Official statistics showed that between October and December last year, 86 percent of children and adolescents were seen at CAMHS units within the target of 26 weeks. In December 2014, a new target treatment time of 18 weeks was introduced. Between the same period, only 78.9 percent of patients were seen within the December 2014 target of 18 weeks. In both instances, the Scottish Government target is to be achieved for at least 90 percent of patients.
In NHS Tayside, 52.1 per cent were seen within the 18-week period and 57.5 per cent within the 26-week period.
North East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes said: “Charities are warning that CAMHS services are at crisis point, which is being exacerbated by a shortage of educational psychologists and a lack of capacity in CAMHS units.
“You wouldn’t expect a young person to wait over six months with a broken leg – the treatment of mental health issues is no less urgent. It’s time the minister for mental health to heed our calls to enshrine parity in law between the treatment of mental and physical ill health, so that more children get the best opportunities in life.”
The Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for Angus, Sanjay Samani, commented: “It is appalling to see that nearly half of children and young people with mental health issues are waiting six months for treatment in Tayside. One can only imagine how traumatic this must be for them.”
He added: “The Lib Dems are leading the way nationally to tackle the stigma around mental health and to ensure that it is treated as seriously as physical health. We are badly letting children with mental health issues down and we need to address these failings as quickly as we can.”
Councillor David May said: “Like Sanjay I feel it is really concerning that youngsters in our area are having to wait so long for help, as it is critical that treatment is provided early.”