Moray MP Douglas Ross has slammed the SNP for presiding over “appalling” waiting times for children and young people seeking mental health treatment in NHS Grampian.
A response to a Freedom of Information Request made by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed the “shocking” length of time patients are either having to wait for a first appointment or the time taken between first and follow-up appointments.
The longest wait a young patient suffered before a first appointment with NHS Grampian Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) was 57 weeks, while another patient had to wait 64 weeks between appointments.
On average, patients are enduring waits of over seven months after first being seen, which Douglas says will be “hugely damaging” for young people in his constituency.
Douglas added that the pandemic has only exacerbated the mental health crisis among young people, which the SNP had already failed to get on top of before Covid struck.
With the FOI revealing that the CAHMS workforce in NHS Grampian is below the national average, Douglas has urged “discredited and distracted” SNP health secretary Michael Matheson to “urgently” ensure the health board have the resource to support all those seeking treatment as quickly as possible.
Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “The waiting times for children and young people desperate for mental health support in NHS Grampian are utterly appalling.
“It is shocking that any vulnerable young person would have to wait over a year for their first appointment and equally shocking that anyone would have to wait even longer to be seen again.
“Those sort of intolerable waits will be deeply damaging for those young people in my constituency who are struggling with mental health issues.
“Even before the pandemic, the SNP had failed to get a grip of the mental health crisis among young people across NHS Grampian. Since Covid struck, those issues have only exacerbated.
“The discredited and distracted SNP health secretary Michael Matheson must urgently respond to these waiting times. With staffing resources in NHS Grampian CAMHS services significantly lower than the national average, he must ensure that they have every resource they need to treat young people as quickly as possible.”