Youngsters in Tayside are still facing delays for appointments to treat a range of conditions including mental health, ADHD, autism, and cerebral palsy.
NHS Tayside figures show waiting times for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) still fall below the national average.
A report to Health Board bosses also shows waiting times for Paediatric Neurodevelopment – the service which treats disorders such as ADHD, autism, and cerebral palsy – as of “increasing concern” as “demand continues to outstrip capacity.”
There are 950 children and young people currently on the list for paediatric neurodevelopmental appointments – with the longest wait for a first appointment a staggering 98 weeks.
The issue of delays in referrals has been raised previously with one expert stating the pandemic has excacerbated an existing problem.
‘Best quality care’
An NHS Tayside spokesperson said work is being done to tackle the issue.
They said: “The service remains committed to making further improvements to ensure all our children and young people receive the best quality care without delays.”
Work, including use of a specialist online service called Healios, is being carried out to cut waiting times.
‘Continually improving waiting times’
Performance on referrals for mental health appointments dipped again in January and February.
Under national targets 90% of those aged 18 and under should be treated within 18 weeks of being referred to CAMHS
A spokesperson for NHS Tayside added: “The service is continually improving waiting times.
“To support further improvements additional nursing and psychology staff have been recruited to increase service capacity and provide more support to children and young people over the coming months.”
Greater use of technology so staff can provide outpatient appointments for new assessments, ongoing treatment and continuous review are other measures being used.
“The service is also continuing to work with Healios to provide face-to-face video appointments for children and young people across Tayside.
“This service allows flexible appointments at times that suit the children and their families and has enabled us to offer appointments sooner and reduce the time that children and their families wait for treatment.”
A text reminder service for appointments has been introduced as has ‘opt in’ appointments and the Tayside CAMHS website updated to include in and out of hours support and self-help advice for children, families and other professionals.