Reduction in child mental health waits

Continued improvement in services.

The number of children and young people seen by mental health services (CAMHS) within the target time has increased for the second quarter in a row.

According to statistics published by ISD Scotland today, 82.5% of people were seen within 18 weeks between October and December 2016. This compares with 79.0% in the previous quarter and 76.2% at the same time last year.

NHS Forth Valley, where an improvement team led has been working to reduce waiting times, has seen a 43.7 percentage point improvement since the last quarter. A total of 94.8% of children and young people were seen within 18 weeks, compared with 51.1% in the last quarter.

The improvement team, led by NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), has been working with mental health teams to redesign and improve access to services. The team is also working in other board areas which have high numbers of referrals or poor performance against the target.

For psychological therapy services, which includes adults, 77.5% of patients were seen within 18 weeks*. CAMHS workforce has increased by 49.1% since 2006 but has remained stable over the last year.

Maureen Watt, Minister for Mental Health, said:

“This continued reduction in waiting times is encouraging because it demonstrates that access to services is improving. I’m particularly pleased to see that the improvement team, led by Healthcare Improvement Scotland, seems to have made such a positive impact in Forth Valley.

“However I’m clear that we must continue to reduce waiting times and I will not be satisfied until our 90% target is met. Our challenge now is to ensure this improvement is sustained, and to extend it to other parts of the country.

“In the coming weeks I will be publishing our new strategy for mental health. This will lay out how we will change services over the next decade, backed with £150 million of funding.”

NHS Forth Valley Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Department Manager, Jacqueline Sproule, said: “The excellent results are the culmination of hard work and a recovery plan that made many small improvements in the way we work. Putting these together has really paid off along with the recruitment of extra specialist staff in all areas of the service.

“Our team have worked very hard to reduce waiting times as no-one wants to see children having to wait for help, especially those who are particularly vulnerable.”


Full mental health statistical publications can be read at

* For psychological therapies, data completeness for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Highland are below 50% due to IT system changes. Therefore no conclusions can be drawn from their data. Revised figures will be published on completion of these IT changes and Scotland figures will be updated.


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