South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has warned about slipping child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) waiting times in the Scottish Borders.
New Government statistics published on Tuesday show at the end of 2020, 245 people were waiting for treatment, an increase of 84 per cent compared to the previous year. Of these, 137 (56 per cent) had been waiting more than 18 weeks, up 3325 per cent compared to the same time in 2019 (when the figure was 4).
Overall in 2020, 25 per cent of those seen waited more than the legal waiting time target of 18 weeks for treatment and 31 per cent of all referrals in the region were rejected.
Colin Smyth said: “These latest figures for NHS Borders are deeply concerning.
“Undoubtedly, the Covid-19 pandemic has had an effect on service delivery over the past 12 months and it has been completely unprecedented for our NHS.
“However, it is vitally important that the region’s vulnerable children and young people have access to the care they require, and within a reasonable amount of time. We’ve been told repeatedly during the past year that the pandemic has had a serious impact on mental health and this is particularly true for young people.
“Our brilliant local NHS is doing everything it can to help people in need, but it needs the support of the Scottish Government. The NHS should not be having to choose between tackling a virus and tackling mental health issues. Without better support, more young people are going to suffer long waiting times for the help they so desperately need.