Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has expressed concern that child and adolescent mental health waiting times in the NHS Highland area have worsened, despite the Scottish Government’s commitment to improve them a year ago.
The latest figures from ISD show that only 77.8% of patients in the area are now being seen within 18 weeks, a decline since the previous quarter when 81.4% of children were seen within 18 weeks.
The statistics come exactly a year after the Scottish Government’s major commitment in the programme for government to improving mental health services for children and young people, specifically promising “speedier access to specialist care for those who need it.”
The Scottish Government standard states that 90% of children and young people should start treatment within 18 weeks of referral to the Child and Mental Health Service.
Mr Cameron said: “This is another disappointing set of mental health statistics from the SNP. It is very worrying that vulnerable children across the Highlands are waiting too long for access to vital treatment. This can have a serious effect on them and their families."
“The health secretary has already admitted that the SNP is doing too little too late to tackle child and adolescent mental health issues and unfortunately these statistics seem to confirm that. Last year Nicola Sturgeon committed to improving mental health services for children but now more children are waiting longer, sometimes with severe consequences."
“That's why the SNP must deliver the resources required to support our young people struggling with mental health challenges.”
Across Scotland as a whole a similar almost 4% decline in performance was evident, underlining the SNP's continuing failure to get on with the day job.