Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Waiting Times (Lothian)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 20th June 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Balfour Jeremy Balfour Conservative

3. To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to reduce excessive waiting times for young people in Lothian to access mental health support. (S5O-03415)

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

Through the mental health access improvement support programme, between 2016-17 and 2019-20, NHS Lothian is scheduled to receive an additional £4.7 million from the Scottish Government to support mental health workforce development and capacity building.

The director for mental health has written to NHS Lothian, seeking reassurance about the approach that is being taken to address long waits and confirmation that patients are kept informed of their situation and provided with support and advice while they are waiting for on-going treatment.

Photo of Jeremy Balfour Jeremy Balfour Conservative

I thank the minister for her answer, but the fact remains that, in the most recent quarter, 85 young people in NHS Lothian waited for more than a year, and 118 young people waited for more than a year across all NHS health boards.

Does the minister agree with me and the Scottish children’s services coalition that there must be a radical transformation of our mental health services?

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

Long waits for child and adolescent mental health services and support are unacceptable; I have said that on more than one occasion in this chamber. The Scottish Government expects all health boards to meet and sustain performance against mental health waiting time targets. To help to achieve that ambition, our 2018-19 programme for government outlines a package of measures that are supported by £0.25 billion of additional investment. That is in addition to the £54 million that has already been invested to help boards to improve their performance against waiting time targets.

Photo of Mary Fee Mary Fee Labour

Looking at the broader picture of access to CAMHS across Scotland, the latest figures show that more than a quarter of referred children are not seen within the 18-week target waiting time. When does the minister expect to reach the 90 per cent target for children and young people accessing CAMHS within 18 weeks?

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

All boards now have in place improvement plans for CAMHS and psychological therapies, supported by the mental health access improvement team, with milestones to meet over the next two years. The Scottish Government is working with health boards, including in Lothian and Fife, to agree their annual operating plans, which include how they will meet those standards.