South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has called on the Scottish Government to take ‘immediate action’ to tackle Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) waiting times.
New statistics released recently show that CAMHS waiting lists have hit their highest point on record, with almost 12,000 young people waiting to be seen at the end of June across the whole of Scotland.
According to the statistics, NHS Dumfries and Galloway saw only 36.4 percent of patients within 18 weeks in the period between April and June 2021, the lowest in Scotland.
The figure was 53.9 % for NHS Borders, 57.3 per cent NHS Lanarkshire and 63.2 per cent in NHS Lothian; all below the Scottish Government’s target of 90 per cent.
Only NHS Ayrshire and Arran met the target with 98.8 percent of people seen within 18 weeks during that time period.
Colin Smyth said: “Undoubtedly, the Covid-19 pandemic has had an effect on service delivery over recent 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, so the Scottish Government’s failure to act sooner and invest in services is nothing short of negligent”.
“Our brilliant local NHS is doing everything it can to help people in need, but it needs the support of the Scottish Government. I’m calling on the Government to take immediate action to ensure these waiting times improve.
“The NHS should not be having to choose between tackling a virus and tackling mental health issues.
“We urgently need a real plan to fix this growing crisis and make sure every single young person referred to CAMHS gets the treatment and support they need.”