SOCIAL CARE: Committee allocates a pittance to children’s mental health

Published 27 November 2020

Image of WDHSCP logo

Chairperson Allan MacLeod and his deputy, Cllr Marie McNair.

By Lucy Ashton

West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership is investing more than £120,000 to help young people access mental health and well-being services.

The partnership received what many will consider a miserly £62,000, a share of £2million investment by the  Scottish Government,  and will receive a further £58,250 by March 2021.

A multi-agency taskforce  group, including representatives  from  WDHSCP; Education; Working4U; youth charity Y-Sort-it and representatives from the Champions Board, has been set up to  review  children and young people’s mental health.

Given the widespread concern expressed in the recent past about mental health services to children and the vast amounts of money swimming around in the Covid cash support pool, the money allocated to this project will be considered a pittance in many quarters.

The group will look at how to improve the way children’s mental health services are organised, commissioned and provided and how to make it easier for young people to access help and support, including in schools, through voluntary organisations and online.

The group will also ask young people and their families for their views on current and future community mental health and wel-lbeing services to improve the delivery of service which will help form a report on the review of services.

Unelected Allan Macleod, Chair of WDHSCP Board, who is predictably an accountant whose most recent  public appointment was concerned with police matters, said: “This review of mental health and well-being will ensure that any young person requiring treatment will be offered the most appropriate care, at a time and location suitable to the needs of the individual.

“Securing the views of the people who regularly use the services and their families will ensure the changes we make will benefit service users now and in the future.”

One expects they will take into account the recent report by Police Scotland that they were being overburdened with having to deal with mental health matters and were having to spend too much of their valuable time on them.

Councillor Marie McNair, Vice Chair of WDHSCP Board and prospective SNP candidate for the upcoming May election in Gil Paterson’s Clydebank seat, said: “We are fully committed to the health and well-being of our young people and we know the profound effects this pandemic has had on their mental health.

“This investment will  help us review our services to ensure we have the right resources to provide help to all those who need it and in addition identify what advice, support and help parents would find most useful in supporting their children.”

Labour says it’s not nearly enough ….

Labour’s Jackie Baillie and Monica Lennon, party spokesperson on health.

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has said that there has been a clear and deep failure to adequately support CAMHS services throughout the pandemic.

This comes as new figures published show that almost 1,000 children and young people have been forced to wait over a year for access to specialist mental health services.

Official statistics from Public Health Scotland reveal that 53.5% of young people waiting to be seen by CAMHS at the end of September 2020 had already waited longer than the target 18 weeks.

Figures for West Dunbartonshire show that during quarter two of 2020, only 33.9% of children were seen within the CAMHS 18-week referral target. The target for this particular indicator is 90%.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has consistently had the highest number of referrals to CAHMS services since July 2019, with 1.598 young people being reffered between July and September 2020.

Most worryingly, nearly 1,000, 959 to be exact, children and young people had been on the waiting list for over a year.

The figures also showed that although referrals to CAMHS had increased again following the drop over the first lockdown, rejected referrals remained stubbornly high at 23.2%.

The MSP said:  “These waiting times are intolerable and urgent action is needed to prevent children and young people in our community, and across Scotland, falling deeper into mental health crises.

“Before COVID-19, youth campaigners in Scotland described the growing mental health crisis as their generation’s epidemic. Life in lockdown is affecting the mental health of people of all ages and from all backgrounds.

“Mental health services for children and young people have been neglected by the SNP for too long. The Scottish Government must properly fund our NHS and support third-sector organisations who provide lifeline services, as they are needed now more than ever.”

LibDems want more investment from SNP …

Meanwhile, responding to the news that just 60.6% of children who started mental health treatment in the quarter ending September 2020 did so within 18 weeks, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, pictured left,  commented:  “Whether it’s a first appointment or a crushing need for help, nobody should be left waiting for expert help.

“But it’s happening routinely. Under this SNP Government there were record numbers of children waiting over a year for help before the pandemic even struck.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to press for much more investment in mental health, the creation of specialist beds for young people, alongside new practitioners in every single GP surgery and A&E department to tackle the waiting times crisis.

“These young people need a needle-sharp focus on recovery. They can’t wait in the queue behind another referendum.”


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