The length of time children are still waiting for mental health support in Fife has once again come under fire.
Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley has written to Fife Health and Social Care Partnership to demand answers.
A report to the NHS Fife Board this week revealed child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) waiting times are still higher than the national target.
Statistics for April show only 68% of youngsters in Fife were seen within 18 weeks, lower than the previous month’s figure of 73%.
Under national targets, 90% of those aged 18 and under should be treated within 18 weeks of being referred to CAMHS.
Mr Rowley called the figures “worrying” and added: “We need to understand what the issues are and what the up to date position is.”
In his letter, he calls for full transparency, answers and information on what is being done to address staffing levels, calling the situation an “unacceptable position.”
He also highlights concerning waiting times for Psychological Therapies and asks for details of what is being provided.
He said: “Staff working in all areas of our NHS have been under immense pressure, but that should not stop management from being in a position to say exactly what the scale of the challenges are and what they need in order to meet those challenges.
“We need full transparency and an acknowledgement that we cannot start to fix the problems if we do not know the extent of the problem.”
The issue of waiting times for CAMHS has caused concern and been raised previously.
Rona Laskowski, Head of Complex and Critical Care Services explained:
- Improving access to CAMHS is a national issue.
- An improvement plan for CAMHS and Psychological Therapies has been drawn up.
- Extra funding will help tackle waiting times.
National recruitment challenge
“CAMHS IN Fife has received £1.8m funding, this will be invested into resources that will significantly reduce waiting times and help us to meet the national waiting time target.
“Psychological Therapies (PTS) provides a number of therapeutic services, and again there is a national challenge in recruiting to these services.
“Fife PTS service has also received additional funding to invest in the workforce with recruitment under way and we are committed to meeting the referral to treatment target by 31 March 2023.”