Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has said scandalous mental health waits are the price patients and staff are paying for the SNP’s failure to take the issue seriously, after new statistics showed waits lengthening again for children and young people.
The figures, published by ISD Scotland today, showed that at children and adolescent mental health services:
- Just 80.7% of children and young people were seen within 18 weeks, a decrease from 83.6% in the previous quarter;
- Just 34.5% of children in Grampian and 58.7% of children in Lothian were seen within the target time.
Meanwhile, statistics on psychological therapies indicate the waiting time was missed for around one in four adults.
Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:
"Last time these statistics were published SNP ministers celebrated meagre progress against the waiting time target for child mental health. But today's figures confirm progress is anything but 'encouraging'.
"Performance has plummeted again, the average waiting time has increased and dozens of children are left without the treatment they need for more than a year. For a child, waiting well over a year for help must feel like a lifetime. Staff are working incredibly hard but they are being let down too.
"This desperate situation is nothing short of scandalous.
"Intolerable waits for mental health treatment are the price people are paying for the SNP's inaction. How many more times do people have to go through this before the Scottish Government sit up and make the transformational investment that is required? Warm words won't make up for an unambitious mental health strategy.
"Liberal Democrats have consistently told the SNP Government that only a step change in mental health will make the difference, with new child mental health services across Scotland and new staff in every GP practice and A&E available to deliver treatments."