Over 16,000 mental health referrals for young people have been rejected

  • Over 16,000 referrals for young people with mental health needs have been rejected in the past three years. mentalhealth.jpg

    Between July last year and June this year, data from the NHS has found that Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services rejected 5,396 referrals, reports STV News.

    Over the last three years 16,565 referrals were refused.

    Labour public services spokesman Dr Richard Simpson said the number of referrals for specialist help that were being turned down was a result of SNP ministers "squeezing health spending in Scotland harder even than the Tories in England".

    Dr Simpson, who worked as a GP and psychiatrist before becoming an MSP, said: "These are referrals from health professionals to mental health services, not self-diagnosis from patients or families. It suggests real issues in the level of support our NHS is receiving. There hasn't been one additional child psychiatrist appointed since 2008. If the performance for mental health services in Scotland were replicated in our A&E wards there would, quite rightly, be a national outcry. Scotland has made great strides in reducing the stigma associated with mental health problems, but what we are seeing here is the result of the SNP Government in Edinburgh squeezing health spending in Scotland harder even than the Tories in England."

    Jamie Hepburn, the Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said: "We have been investing heavily in mental health services and waiting times have come down significantly. The average waiting time for psychological therapies is now eight weeks, and for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services it is nine weeks. This has been achieved while providing services to 1000 more children and adolescent and 2,700 more adults compared to the same quarter last year. There is still more work to be done, which is why we are investing an extra £100m to further improve mental health services, including more staff being trained to deliver psychological therapies for children and young people."

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