Witnesses plead with health committee to up child mental health spend

Speaking at this morning’s meeting of the Scottish Parliament's Health & Sport Committee, senior medical professionals warned that "there is something not right" with existing efforts to tackle children and young people's mental health. They were backed by Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton who called for more investment in services and a step change in mental health treatment.

Speaking in front of the committee, Janice Hewitt, Chief Accountable Officer for North Lanarkshire Health & Social Care Partnership said:

“If I was to leave one legacy in integration as I left the building it would be in our children’s wellbeing and mental health. Please invest in our children’s wellbeing. The referrals we’ve had in CAMHS services have risen in tier three and severe by 23%. There is something not right. There’s something we’re not doing right with families and children.

“Part of the challenge is the workforce challenge and investment in the right practitioners… In mental health from children’s wellbeing through to forensic, let’s get this right.”

Robert McCulloch-Graham, Chief Officer for Health and Social Care in the Scottish Borders Health & Social Care Partnership added:

“Demand for our children at the moment is increasing at a terrifying rate… There is something happening there that is not right and we need to put a fix to it.”

Speaking afterwards, Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

“Health professionals should not have to plead for funding for children’s wellbeing. The Scottish Government have failed to give our medical professionals the support and resources they need.

“Hardworking staff are doing their best but vulnerable children are still not getting the help they need. By pretty much every measure, the state of mental health services in Scotland has declined over recent years.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats have set out a comprehensive and positive plan to deliver a step change in mental health, including increasing the number medical health professionals in locations such as GP surgeries and A&Es and doubling the CAMHS budget.”

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