Craig Hoy, Shadow Mental Health Minister for the Scottish Conservatives, has challenged the SNP Government as it emerged that over one-quarter of children and young people waiting for mental health treatment were not seen within 18 weeks.
Some 27.4% of children and young people were not seen within 18 weeks, and one-in-ten children and young people waited over 53 weeks or more to be treated.
Referral rates have now reached the highest on record, with one in every 100 children and young people being referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service for mental health care.
This is in spite of the number of psychiatrists falling in the past year, which has reduced capacity to meet the specialist needs of this group.
Craig said: “Scotland’s young people are in the grip of a mental health crisis and despite the SNP Government having pledged action, the latest data on waiting times makes bleak reading.
“SNP Ministers need to act immediately to guarantee that vulnerable youngsters receive treatment as quickly as possible.
“It is an absolute scandal that so many young people are waiting over a year to begin mental health treatment. Even before the pandemic, the SNP routinely failed to ensure its own targets were met. Mental health problems have escalated during the Covid crisis, but ministers have repeatedly failed to get a grip.
“Pressure from the Scottish Conservatives ensured that the SNP finally committed to spending ten per cent of the health budget on mental health services.
“The SNP must urgently deliver that funding to health boards and support organisations if we are to tackle the problem of young people waiting too long for mental health treatment.”