As a coalition whose members deliver specialist care and education services for children and young people with complex needs, we have written to the Scottish Government, urging it to use the opportunity of increased spending by the UK Government on mental health services in England in the Budget to address the current crisis in mental health services for children and young people in Scotland.
As part of the UK Budget it has been announced that there will be an extra £250million for mental health services in England, largely for children and young people. According to the Barnett Formula, Scotland will receive about £25 million of this and we are urging the Scottish Government to plough part of this funding bonus into improving vital mental health services for vulnerable children and young people.
Recent information highlights the fact that half the health boards have missed an 18-week treatment target for access to specialist child and adolescent mental health services which came into force in December and the number of those being treated in non-specialist adult and paediatric wards has increased to 202 this year.
Currently across Scotland there is also no secure inpatient provision for those children and young people with mental health conditions, leading to many being treated in an unsuitable environment in Scotland or being sent miles away from their families to England.
Scotland aims to lead the way in promoting the wellbeing of children and this extra funding would go a significant way to helping families, many of whom are in crisis. Let us now go that extra mile and ensure that we have a range of mental health services available in Scotland for those who so vitally need it.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:
Sophie Pilgrim, Director, Kindred Scotland
Tom McGhee, Managing Director, Spark of Genius
Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive, Who Cares? Scotland
Stuart Jacob, Director, Falkland House School
Niall Kelly, Managing Director, Young Foundations
Elizabeth May, National Co-ordinator, Action for Sick Children Scotland