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Mental health waiting times

Fall for both children and adults.

The proportion of people receiving treatment for mental health conditions within 18 weeks has increased, according to new statistics published yesterday.

The percentage of children and young people seen within the 18 week standard increased from 73 per cent to 76 per cent between the third and fourth quarters of 2015. Half of this group started their treatment within eight weeks.

Despite the improvement, Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, acknowledged that more work is needed to bring waiting times down further.

Mental health workforce statistics, also published yesterday, show an increase in the whole time equivalent workforce for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) by 28 per cent since 2009 to 978.7 – an extra 214.1 posts. The total number of clinical staff employed in psychology services has increased by 24.5 per cent since March 2011.

The number of people seen in CAMHS increased again from 4,235 to 4,469, and has risen by 297 in the last year.

Compared to the previous quarter, the proportion of adults treated with psychological therapies within 18 weeks has risen from 81.1 per cent to 83.5 per cent. The number of people treated has risen by 24 per cent since last year – an additional 2,600 people. The increase since the same period in December 2013 is over 63 per cent - an increase of 5,100 people.

The Scottish Government standard is for 90 per cent of patients to be seen within 18 weeks. An additional £150 million will be invested in mental health over the next five years – partly to improve CAMHS and further reduce waiting times. Last week £3.5 million was made available for local initiatives to improve support for mental health in primary care settings.

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said:

“This quarter we have seen an increase in the number of people being seen within the target time - both children and young people and adults. There has been a significant improvement in these waiting times over the last few years, despite a large increase in the number of people being seen. We also have many more staff – a 28 per cent increase in CAMHS workforce since 2009.

“While these figures are moving in the right direction, I recognise that there is a substantial amount of further work to be done. The Scottish Government remains absolutely determined that we will continue this progress and hit our 90 per cent standard right across Scotland.

“With this in mind we have announced an additional £150 million for mental health services over the next five years. The funding will be partly used to further improve child and adolescent mental health services, help to bring down waiting times and deliver sustainable improvement to services.

“As part of this funding £4.8 million will be awarded to Healthcare Improvement Scotland to establish a Mental Health Access Improvement Support Team who will provide a comprehensive package of support to work in partnership with Boards to improve access to mental health services.

“We’ve also invested over £16 million over the last six years to increase the number of psychologists working in specialist CAMHS by over 70 per cent, with a further £3.5 million committed this year.”


Mental health waiting times and workforce data can be read in full at

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SG Communications

Mark Taylor

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