Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton today called for an urgent statement from the new mental health minister after a report from the Mental Welfare Commission revealed that one third of the beds at a specialist mental health unit for children are empty due to staff shortages.
An unannounced inspection of the Dudhope House child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) unit in Dundee revealed that just 8 of 12 bed spaces were being used, with a waiting list for beds in the unit.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
"This is hugely concerning. We know that some children have been forced to wait more than a year for mental health treatment and there are currently no specialist beds north of Dundee. Now we learn that staff in Dundee are so stretched that one third of their beds are out of use.
“This is a brand new facility that we were told would give children and young people the urgent treatment required. But this report revealed real issues in staffing that must be resolved.
"We need a step change in the way that we support mental health services. That means investing more in new resources and, crucially, training more staff. We need an urgent statement from our new Mental Health Minister to set out how she will get to grips with the huge challenges that CAMHS units are facing. Children cannot afford to wait to get the mental health support they need."