New Health Board figures on waiting times highlight urgent action needed to deliver on mental health targets

Published on May 26, 2015
  • NHS Scotland as a whole fails to meet waiting time target dating from March 2013
  • 3 Health Boards fail to meet 26-week waiting time target dating from March 2013
    • NHS Forth Valley, NHS Tayside, NHS Lothian
  • 6 health boards failing to meet 18-week waiting time target dating from December 2014
    • NHS Fife, NHS Forth Valley, NHS Grampian, NHS Lothian, NHS Shetland and NHS Tayside

A leading coalition of independent and third sector children and young people’s service providers, while welcoming Scottish Government increased investment of £85m in mental health services1, has urged it to act quickly ensure that NHS Health Boards achieve waiting time targets for access to children and adolescent services.

The call from the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) (see Notes to Editors for members), comes as new figures are published today (26th May) from the Information Services Division of National Services Scotland, part of NHS Scotland, covering the quarter from January to March 2015. 2

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

The new figures indicate that for Scotland’s 14 Health Boards as a whole 85.2% of people are being seen within the 26-week target dating from March 2013 and 78.9% for the target from December last year. Both these are failing to reach the 90% set by the Scottish Government.

11 of the 14 Health Boards have currently achieved this 26-week waiting time target from March 2013, with the 3 who haven’t being NHS Forth Valley (82.7%), NHS Tayside (37.3%) and NHS Lothian (67.4%).

8 of the 14 Health Boards currently achieve the December 2014 18-week waiting time target, except for NHS Fife (80.7%), NHS Forth Valley (57.1%), NHS Grampian (73.6%), NHS Lothian (53.8%), NHS Shetland (83.3%) and NHS Tayside (34.7%).

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.

Sophie Pilgrim, Director of Kindred Scotland, speaking on behalf of the SCSC, said:

“As a coalition we are delighted that the Scottish Government has committed an additional £85m in mental health over the next 5 years and that this is to be partly to be used to address child and adolescent mental health waiting time targets. We would urge the Scottish Government to act quickly to ensure that those Health Boards who are failing to meet waiting time targets are given the support they need to do so, ensuring that those children and young people requiring these services do not miss out.

"Families usually experience months of waiting even before a referral to CAMHS.  The consequent delay in diagnosis and appropriate support can result in crisis and the need for costly extra resources."

1 Scottish Government, £100m for Mental Health, 24th May 2015. Available at:

2 NHS Information Services Division, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Waiting Times in Scotland, 26th May 2015. Available at:


For further information please contact Alex Orr, Policy Adviser to the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition, on 0131 603 8996 or [email protected]

Notes to Editors

  1. The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) is an alliance of leading independent and third sector service providers. These providers have come together to work with political and other key stakeholders, campaigning to improve the delivery of children and young people’s services. SCSC 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.

2.Members of the SCSC are:

  • Falkland House School: An independent school based in Fife that specialises in the education and care of boys who require support for learning. It was one of the first independent schools in Scotland to be awarded Autism Accreditation by the National Autistic Society and offers day, 39 week and 52 week placements
  • Mindroom: A charity dedicated to creating awareness of all kinds of learning difficulties. Mindroom 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: A third sector independent advocacy organisation that provides individual and collective advocacy to children and young people with care experience across Scotland, as well as Corporate Parenting training and information.  Who Cares? Scotland has been working with children and young people for 35 years and uses this experience to campaign, lobby and speak out both with and on their behalf.
  • Young Foundations: An independent organisation that specialises in residential, fostering and integrated services for children and young people with complex needs, including autism, learning disabilities and mental health issues. It also offers specialist placements to children who may have suffered trauma or who have attachment based problems.
  • Kindred: A voluntary organisation that provides information, advocacy and emotional support to parents/carers of children and young people with additional support needs. 

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