Mental health statistics in Scotland - continued rise in number of young patients

Date: 6th September 2016
Category: Mental health

The number of children and young people being seen by mental health services has risen by nearly a third in the last two years.

New statistics show there were 4,642 children and young people seen in the quarter ending June 2016, compared to 3,560 in the same period in 2014 - a rise of 30%. In this most recent quarter 77.6% were seen within 18 weeks.

To help improve this performance, a team led by Health Improvement Scotland is currently working in some of the board areas with the longest waits to redesign services and improve efficiencies.

Workforce statistics also published today show the number of psychologists working in CAMHS has more than doubled since 2007 - from 120.8 whole time equivalent posts (141 headcount) to 253.5 (305 headcount) now. However, problems with CAMHS waiting times persist.

The Scottish Government set a target for the NHS in Scotland to deliver a maximum waiting time of 18 weeks from December 2014 - and this must be met 90% of the time.

However, the new figures show that across the 14 health boards, just 77.6% of children and young people are being seen within this time period.

Health boards failing to achieve the 18 week waiting time target are NHS Borders (85.6%), NHS Fife (87.7%), NHS Forth Valley (28.0%), NHS Grampian (41.0%), NHS Lothian (57.4%), NHS Lanarkshire (88.9%) and NHS Shetland (22.7%).

This failure mat be underpinned by the fact that just 0.46% of NHS Scotland expenditure is spent on child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

The Scottish Children's Services Coalition (SCSC) has highlighted that if health boards increase expenditure on CAMHS this will not only cut waiting times, but also address social and economic costs of failing to address these.

These costs are well-established as those affected are more likely to be unemployed, homeless, get caught up in the criminal justice system, or are in extremely costly long-term care. In many cases this can be prevented through early intervention.