Hundreds fewer children in Scotland began mental health care in first quarter of 2024

Press release, Scotland news
05 June 2024

Almost 500 fewer children started mental health treatment in Scotland in the first three months of 2024, figures show.

Public Health Scotland data shows 4,056 children began treatment with Scotland’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the quarter ending March 2024.

That was down 10.5% from the 4,531 children and young people who started treatment in the quarter ending December 2023, and down 17.6% from 4,920 in March 2023.

The statistics also show 5,557 children were on a CAMHS waiting list at the end of March 2024, a 0.7% increase from the 5,517 at the end of December 2023.

However, it was down 27.8% from the 7,701 waiting in the same quarter ending March 2023.

Fifty per cent of the children starting treatment began with six weeks of referral – the same as the December 2023 quarter and a decrease from nine weeks for the quarter ending March 2023.

The data also shows 86% of children on a CAMHS waiting list were seen within the 18-week referral target, up from 83.8% from the previous quarter and from 74.2% from March 2023.

However, it is still short of the Scottish Government’s 90% target.

Dr Chetana Patil, consultant psychiatrist with the CAMHS Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said:

“Although figures suggest an improvement, it’s still very disheartening to hear that fewer children are starting mental health treatment.

“In many areas across Scotland we see targets being missed, but what we need is ring-fenced funding and resources ploughed in at local level.

“We’re appealing to all political parties to consider giving 10% of our NHS budget to mental health services, and 1% towards CAMHS. This funding would really make a difference to the mental health of all our children and young people.”

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