Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has condemned ministers for the scale on which they have failed young people after he published new figures showing the Scottish Government has breached its own child mental health waiting time target by more than 1.7 million days since its introduction.
The 18-week referral to treatment target for CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) was introduced in December 2014. Freedom of information requests submitted by the Scottish Liberal Democrats now reveal that young people across Scotland have waited 1,715,190 days over and above the 18-week waiting time target since its introduction.
The most recent national waiting time statistics showed that more than 3 in 10 children waiting beyond the treatment target, alongside more children waiting over a year for treatment.
Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
“The massive margin by which the Scottish Government has breached mental health waiting time targets for young people is devastating.
“Ministers promised young people and their families that help would be to hand within 18 weeks. Now we find the gap they’re missing this by is in the millions of days. That is outright irresponsible.
“Well-resourced mental health services can completely transform young people’s lives. They need to be able to access help quickly. 18 weeks must already feel like a lifetime and waiting months on end beyond that for support puts lives at risk.
“Liberal Democrats have laid out clear plans to end the scandal of long waits and long journeys for treatment, including boosting 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. The Health Secretary needs to get on board.”