Cole-Hamilton: Child mental health waits "should shame ministers"

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today declared that the failure to treat child mental health properly "should shame ministers" after new waiting time statistics were revealed to be the worst recorded since September 2015. 

The ISD figures show that just 73.3% of children who started their treatment between July and September did so within the 18-week waiting time - down from 80.7% in the previous quarter. In NHS Grampian, the target was met for fewer than one in three children.

The statistics also revealed dozens of children still waiting over a year for treatment. 

Mr Cole-Hamilton commented: 

"These statistics should shame ministers. They have failed a generation of young people suffering from mental ill health. 

"This situation is heartbreaking. These are vulnerable children struggling to cope with issues including eating disorders, anxiety, depression and bullying. Staff are working around the clock but they aren’t getting the support they need. 

“The frustration with the SNP Government is that they could easily swallow their pride, admit they have got it wrong and adopt the policies set out by the Liberal Democrats to improve mental health. To end the scandal of long waits and long journeys for treatment we desperately need to double the CAMHS budget, finally establish beds north of Dundee and put mental health practitioners in every GP surgery and A&E in the country. 

"It’s clear as the sun in the sky we need a radical rethink in how we deliver CAMHS and that a great deal more investment and ambition is required." 

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