South Scotland MSP Martin Whitfield has demanded action on ‘unacceptable’ waits to access Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

Statistics published this week have shown that almost 2,000 young people have waited over a year to begin their treatment, despite the SNP government aiming to ensure 90% of those referred do so within 18 weeks.

The statistics show that more than 4,000 children and young people in the NHS Lothian area were waiting to access CAMHS at the end of September this year. Of this figure, well over half had waited more than the government’s own 18-week target.

Mr Whitfield has said that these unacceptable waits must end if we are to avoid a lost generation of young people in East Lothian and other areas in his South Scotland region.

Commenting Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“Child and adolescent mental health services were already experiencing great pressure before the pandemic. The additional stress caused by Covid means we are now risking a lost generation of young people experiencing mental health issues.

“We cannot have our young people being let down and put in danger due to the failure of the SNP government. East Lothian and the whole of the South of Scotland deserves so much better.

“On behalf of the young people of East Lothian, I call on the Health Secretary to take immediate action to ensure everyone can access the treatment and support they need as quickly as possible.”