Shocking figures unearthed by the Scottish Liberal Democrats show that some children in the North East in need of mental health treatment are being forced to wait over a year to be seen.
John Waddell, Liberal Democrat candidate for West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine, and North East MSP Mike Rumbles are calling for a step change in mental health for youngsters in the North East. The pair also want to see overnight beds available for children from across NHS Grampian who are suffering from mental health issues.
Access to specialist inpatient facilities in Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital were withdrawn over a decade ago and Scottish Government have refused to re-open the service. There are now no beds available for CAMHS patients North of Dundee.
The longest waiting time for treatment in 2016/17 was 385 days.
Mr Waddell said: “The most important thing we can do to help children who are suffering from issues with their mental health is to get treatment as soon as possible.”
“Youngsters are incredibly resilient, but their mental wellbeing is one of the determining factors in how well they will do in school and later in life. We owe it to them to do everything we can, and part of that is having proper support and facilities available when they are needed.
“The Liberal Democrats and I called for the unit to re-open over a year ago but our pleas fell on deaf ears. Children across the North east have been let down by our governments in both London and Edinburgh. Staff are doing their best but they do not have the resources they need to help children in a reasonable timeframe.”
Mr Rumbles added: “During the budget negotiation this year, the Scottish Liberal Democrats set out a clear plan to invest in mental health services in Scotland but those plans were rejected by the SNP. The Scottish Government say they are doing all they can but the figures show that they are not and matters are getting worse.
“John Waddell and I are calling on the Scottish Government to give the resources NHS Grampian needs to look after children in the North East. That means having the proper facilities and staff available for the children who need it.”
Notes for editors:
- Please find full breakdown of FOI data in the spreadsheet attached.
- New statistics acquired by the party through freedom of information requests have shown Lothian, Grampian, Highland, Fife and Ayrshire and Arran all recorded cases of children waiting over a year for mental health treatment in 2016/17 or on their current waiting lists.
- They include children and young people waiting:
- 666 days in Lothian before starting treatment in 2016/17
- 623 days in Highland before starting treatment in 2016/17
- 611 days in Fife currently
- 448 days in Ayrshire and Arran currently
- 385 days in Grampian before starting treatment in 2016/17
- For each health board, it shows:
- The number of children who started treatment in 2016/17 who waited over a year, broken down by waiting time (months)
- The longest waiting time for children who started treatment in 2016/17.
- The number of children currently waiting to be seen who have already waited for over a year, broken down by waiting time (months)
- The longest waiting time for children currently waiting to start treatment.