SNP failing young people with mental health problems – Jo

Local MP Jo Swinson is backing the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) in their call for the Scottish Government to take urgent action and ensure that NHS Health Boards achieve waiting time targets for children and adolescent services.

The call from the SCSC comes as new figures published yesterday (24th February) show that the NHS in Scotland has failed to meet a target for children’s mental health services. 1

The Scottish Government set a target to deliver a maximum waiting time of 26 weeks from a patient’s referral to treatment for specialist child and adolescent mental health services from March 2013, reducing to 18 weeks from December 2014. The target should be delivered for at least 90% of patients.

Covering the quarter from October to December 2014, these new figures indicate that for Scotland’s 14 Health Boards as a whole 86% of people are being seen within the 26-week target dating from March 2013 and 78.9% for the target that was to be reached by December last year. Both these fail to reach the 90% set by the Scottish Government.

The NHS in Scotland provides mental health services for children and young people with a wide range of mental health conditions including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, behaviour problems, depression and early onset psychosis.

The SCSC has written to the Scottish Government on this issue and repeated its call for higher-level strategic management and for urgent action to address a worrying shortage of educational psychologists and psychiatrists being recruited to address children and mental health issues.

Commenting Jo said:

"The longer that young people have to wait for services the worse their condition may become.  

“Too many Scottish children and teenagers are facing waits over 18 weeks for access to vital help.

“With one in four people expected to suffer from a mental health issue in their lifetime, it’s vital that the SNP Government wake up and take action now.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition said:

“As a Coalition we were already very alarmed at these waiting time figures from some Health Boards, which compound our concerns and confirm that many do not have the resources to cope with demand. It is those children and young people requiring these services who are missing out, the most vulnerable in our society.

“We are at a crisis point and high level strategic management is required in order to get a grip on the situation. That is why we are renewing our plea to the Scottish Government, urging it to act now before this situation gets any worse.”

1 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Waiting Times in Scotland, Quarter ending 31st December 2014,

Further information

  1. The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) is a policy-focused collaboration between leading independent and third sector service providers who have come together to work with political and other key stakeholders to help improve the delivery of children and young people’s services.  Its members deliver specialist care and education services for children and young people with complex needs, such as learning difficulties and learning disabilities, as well as direct help and support for them and their families. They also provide independent advocacy, advice and representation for children and young people with care experience.

Members of the SCSC are:

  • Falkland House School: With over 30 years’ experience, Falkland House School in Fife specialises in the care and education of boys who have additional support needs. It provides 39 and 52 week residential and day places to boys from early primary age through to 18 years old, taking referrals from all regions in Scotland and the UK.
  • Mindroom: Scottish charity dedicated to creating awareness of all kinds of learning difficulties. It also provides one-to-one support to families and offer help, advice and training to individuals and organisations who work with people with learning difficulties.
  • Spark of Genius: An independent organisation offering residential care, education, autism services, post-16 employability programmes and adult services throughout the UK. It enables children, young people and adults who need a variety of support to achieve their potential. 
  • Who Cares? Scotland: Third sector independent advocacy organisation that provides individual and collective advocacy to children and young people with care experience across Scotland. It has been working with children and young people for 35 years and uses this experience to campaign, lobby and speak out both with them and on their behalf. This ensures that their views, needs and wishes are being sought, heard and listened to by local and national government.
  • Young Foundations: Provides a range of services across the UK for children and young people - with or without learning disabilities or mental ill-health - through residential care for teenagers, transition care for young adults and fostering.
  • Kindred: Provides information, advocacy and emotional support to parents/carers of children and young people with additional support needs.

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