Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today warned ministers that their failure to improve mental health services is having a "devastating impact" on young people and their families after new statistics showed waits for treatment are still the worst ever.
The ISD Scotland figures show that just 71% of children who started their treatment during the quarter ending March 2018 did so within the 18-week waiting time target, down from 83.6% at the same point last year.
The target was met for fewer than half of children in Tayside, Forth Valley, Grampian and Borders.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
"Mental health waits for young people are still the poorest on record. This critical target is being missed by a huge margin.
"It is appalling to learn that 158 children waited, or are still on the waiting list, for more than a year. The majority of them are in Lothian.
"The failure of ministers to improve mental health services is having a devastating impact on young people and their families. At that age, waiting over a year for the help you desperately need must feel like a lifetime.
"Staff are working around the clock but they aren’t getting anywhere near the support and resources they need.
“Liberal Democrats have laid out clear plans to end the scandal of long waits and long journeys for treatment: doubling the CAMHS budget, establishing mental health beds north of Dundee and putting mental health practitioners capable of treating people in every GP surgery and A&E in the country. That is the level of investment and ambition required if the government is stop failing a generation of young people."