As a coalition of independent and third sector children and young people’s service providers we are greatly alarmed by the new waiting time figures published by the Information Services Division of National Services Scotland, part of NHS Scotland.
These indicate that the vast majority of health boards are failing to meet a 26-week waiting time target for treatment from specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and are at risk of missing a Scottish Government target of an 18-week waiting time, which comes into force in December.
The NHS in Scotland provides mental health services for children and young people with a wide range of conditions including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression and early onset psychosis.
Our members deal with vulnerable children and young people, many of whom require these services, and we remain extremely concerned at these figures and with the number of vacant posts, particularly outwith the Central Belt, for invaluable services such as educational psychologists and child and adolescent psychiatrists.
According to the CAMHS figures, only five of the 14 health boards have currently achieved the 26-week waiting time target from March 2013. And only four of the 14 health boards currently achieve the 18-week target which comes into force this December.
We are at a crisis point and that is why we are renewing our call to the Scottish Government for high-level strategic management, greater support for failing health boards and to incentivise recruitment into specialisms like educational psychology and child and adolescent psychiatry, ensuring that the most vulnerable young people in our society get the support they deserve.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition comprising:
Spark of Genius
Who Cares? Scotland
Falkland House School
(Dr) Alastair Cook
Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland