Fife’s health chiefs have ordered an urgent report into why so many children are waiting too long for mental health treatment.
NHS Fife’s finance and resource committee wants to monitor how the needs of the significant number of youngsters referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are met.
The move follows the publication of new figures revealing almost 30% of children in need of help had to wait more than 18 weeks at the start of this year.
The Scottish Government has set a target stating at least 90% of clients will be seen within that time.
In the three months to the end of April, 71.8% were treated in the target time, the worst performance since the middle of last year.
New initiatives have been introduced in a bid to improve performance, with extra staff brought in in February to focus on those who have been waiting the longest.
This will leave other workers to focus on the most urgent cases.
Concern has also been expressed about the length of time adults are waiting for psychological therapies, with just 65.4% seen within the target time between February and April.
The overall waiting list for the service is continuing to rise and, while those with less complex needs are seen quickly, people with complex issues requiring longer-term treatment have to wait longer.
The board expects to see significant improvements later this year, however, as the impact of service redesign is felt.
Rona Laing, chair of NHS Fife’s finance, performance and resources committee, said concern had been expressed about CAMHS at its latest meeting.
“We’ve asked for further information and discussion on what has been put in place to address help for people at earlier stages,” she said.
Non-executive director Margaret Wells said 18 weeks was a long time for someone in need of a service to wait.
“The longer the wait, the more difficult the issue is for people and it’s more difficult to resolve,” she said.
Board chair Tricia Marwick said the same concerns had been expressed for some time and added: “Can we get some assurance that a report will come to the next finance, performance and resources committee to allow us to monitor what’s happening and what the trajectory is?”
Mrs Marwick said the report should be produced “as a matter of urgency”.