North MSP says Highlands children’s mental health services reaching a “breaking point.” 2023


According to a northern MSP, mental health services for children and adolescents in the Highlands have reached a “breaking point.”

The claim was made by Rhoda Grant, Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands after Public Health Scotland revealed that 564 children and adolescents were on the waiting list at the end of last year. Five-seven percent had waited longer than the 18-week benchmark.

In addition, she argued that between October 2021 and December 2022, over 25 percent of those waiting for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in NHS Highland will have waited over 53 weeks. Mrs. Grant claims the SNP Government has “abandoned” them.

She claims that the increasing demand on services is causing young people to be turned away, with 21% of referrals in Highland being denied. Every day, 25 infants and adolescents in Scotland are denied access to CAMHS.

1,584 individuals were waiting in NHS Lanarkshire, 68% of them waited longer than 18 weeks.

Mrs. Grant stated that nearly 30,000 children, adolescents, and adults are awaiting mental health treatment and emphasized that the Labour Party is demanding action to improve services.

They want a new referral system to ensure that no young person is denied treatment, a dedicated mental health worker in every GP practice and a mental health Accident and Emergency department in every health board so that patients can be fast-tracked, and an increase in mental health spending to at least 11% of the NHS budget.

Mrs. Grant stated, “Children and youth in Highland have been abandoned by the SNP at every turn, from their abysmal education record to their refusal to support CAMHS.

“Despite the diligent efforts of NHS staff, mental health services are at breaking point, and thousands of children and adolescents are at risk of falling through the gaps.

“Far too many children and youth in Highland face lengthy delays for assistance, or worse, are being turned away entirely.

She added, “The SNP must support Labour’s plans and deliver the urgently needed action to prevent a full-blown mental health crisis in Highland.”

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