A Fife MSP has called for answers after revealing almost 1,000 referrals for child and adolescent mental health treatment in the region have been rejected in the past three years.
Labour’s Alex Rowley said 913 children referred to CAMHS since the Scottish Government introduced an 18-week waiting time target for treatment in December 2014, were never seen by the service.
Mr Rowley described it as “shocking” that some of society’s most vulnerable young people were not receiving the help they needed.
NHS Fife said many of the children involved had actually been redirected to alternative services after being inappropriately referred to CAMHS.
The word “rejected” is used in figures collated by the NHS information service, ISD Scotland.
But Mr Rowley expressed concern about a lack of understanding as to why cases were rejected and what happened to the children affected.
He has now written to NHS Fife for further information.
“It is shocking that some of the most vulnerable young people in our society are not receiving the help and support that they so desperately need,” he said.
“When a young person has been referred to receive mental health support, it is likely they need that support and it is worrying to then see so many of these referrals rejected.
“We need to ask whether our NHS is getting enough resources to cope with the demand for child mental health services as it is essential that we don’t just let these young people be pushed to the side and denied the treatment they need.”
Julie Paterson, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership general manager, said CAMHS was working extremely hard to ensure children and young people were referred to appropriate services, seen in a timely manner and provided with quality care and support.
“Last year, we received 2,500 referrals, of which 2,200 children and young people were provided with support,” she said.
“Referrals are not always appropriately directed to CAMHS and it may be that other agencies or assessments are better placed to meet their needs.
“As such, last year approximately 12% of children and young people were redirected to alternative services or for further assessment.
“This compares favourably against the national average, where 22% of referrals were redirected.”
Between July 2016 and September 2017, 8,803 referrals to CAHMS services run by NHS boards across Scotland were rejected.
The percentage of cases rejected in Fife was broadly in line with the national average.