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Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Waiting Times)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 29th January 2020.

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Photo of Alison Harris Alison Harris Conservative

2. To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to reduce child and adolescent mental health services waiting times. (S5O-04054)

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

I have been absolutely clear that long waits for children and young people to access mental health treatment are unacceptable.

There is no simple solution in the face of increased demand for children and young people’s mental health services. That is why we are undertaking an ambitious programme of work to drive forward performance in mental health waiting times across Scotland, while supporting early intervention in community settings and across the third sector, local government and the national health service.

The work will build on the superb work of CAMHS teams across Scotland, who are supporting thousands of young people all year round. Only today, a report in

The Courier highlighted the increase in the number of young people who are being supported in Perth and Kinross. That response is replicated elsewhere in Scotland.

Through the children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing programme board, which is jointly chaired by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, we are implementing the key recommendations of the Coia children and young people’s mental health task force, the youth commission on mental health services and the Scottish Association for Mental Health’s audit of rejected referrals.

Photo of Alison Harris Alison Harris Conservative

In NHS Forth Valley, in the most recent quarter, fewer than two thirds of children and young people with mental health problems were treated within 18 weeks of referral. Is there something more specific that the minister can do to help those children in the NHS Forth Valley area?

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

Officials are working closely with boards to monitor performance regularly, acknowledging that some boards face particular challenges. We are adopting an approach that will involve enhanced engagement over the coming months, with a series of site visits and meetings with national health service chief executives, integration authority chief officers and senior clinicians, to review the trajectories and support the development of local improvement plans.