Children and young people in the NHS Lothian area, including East Lothian, have been “abandoned” by the SNP, Martin Whitfield MSP has warned.

Latest figures show that 1485 children and young people in NHS Lothian are currently on a CAMHS waiting list, with nearly one in four (24 per cent) already having waited longer than the target 18 weeks.

Mr Whitfield and other MSPs have repeatedly raised concern that the mounting pressure on services is leading to young people being turned away.  Labour’s analysis shows that 19 per cent of referrals in Lothian were rejected. Across Scotland, 25 children and young people a day have their referral to CAMHS rejected.

Labour recently held a debate in the Scottish Parliament highlighting the fact almost 30,000 children, young people and adults are currently waiting for mental health treatment and calling for action to improve services.

These asks include the creation of a new referral system to ensure no young person is rejected for treatment, the provision of a dedicated mental health worker in every GP practice and a mental health A&E department in every health board so that patients can be fast-tracked, and an increase in mental health spending to at least 11 per cent of the NHS budget.

Commenting, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“Children and young people in East Lothian have been abandoned by the SNP at every turn, from their dire record on education to their failure to support CAMHS.

“Mental health services are at breaking point despite the tireless work of NHS staff, and thousands of children and young people are at risk of falling through the cracks.

“Far too many children and young people in East Lothian are facing long waits for help, or worse still simply being turned away altogether.

“The SNP must back Labour’s plans and deliver the action we desperately need to prevent a full-blown mental health crisis unfolding here and across Scotland.”