New data shows 'appalling' wait times for children's mental health services in Forth Valley
The latest statistics released for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) waiting times in Scotland between January and March 2021 showed lengthy delays for NHS Forth Valley patients.
Over 60% of patients awaiting treatment with NHS Forth Valley CAMHS have been waiting more than 18 weeks for an appointment, according to the data released on June 1.
The findings also showed that the average wait for those who started receiving treatment at NHS Forth Valley CAMHS in this same period was 57 weeks – far above the national average of nine weeks.
Mr Kerr said: “The Covid crisis and ongoing lockdown restrictions have only increased mental health issues among our young people but this SNP Government has completely failed to tackle the problem and it has got far worse.
“We need an urgent plan from SNP Ministers to guarantee that vulnerable young people will be seen as quickly as possible and our health board is given every resource they need to tackle mental health.
“For every young person and their families waiting for vital mental health support across Falkirk this is a totally unacceptable situation which cannot be allowed to continue.”
A NHS Forth Valley spokesperson said that the longer waiting times for CAMHS treatment is a result of accepting referrals for children with neurodevelopmental disorders like Autistic Spectrum Disorder and ADHD to its local service.
“These account for a significant number of referrals which has had an impact on our overall waiting times and performance,” they said.
“Our staff are working closely with the Scottish Government to address this inconsistency for future waiting times reports.”
They added: “We are continuing to prioritise urgent referrals and children or young people who have experienced longer waits.
"Local CAMHS staff are also working closely with local council partners to support the introduction of new mental health and counselling services in schools which will make it quicker and easier for children and young people to access mental health support at an early stage.
“In addition, we are working with the independent sector to help reduce waiting times for a range of therapies.”