I recently asked some parliamentary questions about Dudhope House in Tayside where they have a mental health facility for young people. I found out children were turned away on 21 occasions in the year since it opened due to a lack of available staff and beds.
There are 12 beds on the unit which only opened in May 2015, but they had to cordon off four of its beds in January “to ensure patient safety in respect of staffing levels”.
We need to invest in child and adolescent mental health services
Children are expected to travel hundreds of miles from Stornoway and Dingwall to a hospital in Dundee for mental health care. I've found out that the lack of resources at this new unit has caused many to be told to go elsewhere. They could be treated even further away from home, privately or in wards that are less suited to their needs.
There is still so much to do to improve the care of those with mental health problems. We need to invest in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), train and support staff, and establish new specialist mental health units north of Dundee.
We need a step change in mental health to guarantee there are beds close to home when children desperately need them and to end the scandal of children waiting over a year for treatment.