Young people in Lothian waiting too long for mental health support

ISD figures released today show that for the latest quarter to March 31st 2019, 85 young people in NHS Lothian waited over a year to be seen out of the 118 of young people waiting over a year across all NHS health boards in Scotland.


The number of young people waiting within the 18 week target in NHS Lothian has increased to a record 540, 69.1%, which is still below the national average of 73.6% seen within the 18 week target for the last quarter.


In NHS Lothian more young people are being seen within the 18 week target, however the 85 young people waiting over a year to be seen still makes up 72% of all young people waiting over a year to be seen in Scotland for the same quarter.


The CAMHS Workforce Report published today states that “NHS Grampian and NHS Lothian’s child & adolescent populations are projected to increase the most by over 6.0% each” (page 8), which means that NHS Lothian CAMHS will need extra funding to meet future demand.


Scotland's first Youth Commission on Mental Health produced a report last week that said fundamental change was needed to the way young people with mental health issues were supported. Recommendation included that mental health education be embedded within the school curriculum and for education professionals to be trained in mental health support.


The commission's also called for waiting times to access child and adolescent mental health services to be reduced to eight weeks. 


Scottish Conservative Health Spokesperson, Miles Briggs, said:


“This provision of mental health services for young people in Lothian is nowhere near where it needs be.


“Hundreds of young people are waiting over the 18 week target every quarter in NHS Lothian to be seen by a mental health professional.


“There has been a mental health crisis for young people in Lothian for many years now and the complacency of SNP Ministers means that young people are suffering without the access to support that they need.


“The SNP must start taking the necessary actions to improve mental health provision for young people in Lothian immediately.”


A spokesperson for the Scottish Children's Services Coalition said:

“There must be a radical transformation of our mental health services, with a focus on preventing such problems arising in the first place and intervening early, especially when we know that half of all mental health problems begin before the age of 14.  This includes embedding mental health within education from an early age as well as providing training for all staff involved in education.

“With mental health and the issues associated with it representing one of the greatest public health challenges of our time, we must ensure that children and young people are able to get the care and support they need, when they need it. This includes investing in greater community support and support at school, reducing the need for referral to specialist CAMHS.”


Miles Briggs