Improvements in waiting times for young people with mental health issues

Children and young people with mental health issues in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are being seen quicker than ever before, according to the latest official figures.

The Health Board’s CAHMS (Children and Adolescents Mental Health Services) service saw 99% of patients within the Scottish Government’s target of 18 weeks. Only four health boards in the country achieved 99% or 100%.

Stephen McLeod, head of specialist children’s services at NHSGGC said: “These figures are very welcome and reflect our long-term strong performance in this area. Even better, the average waiting time for a first appointment is just five weeks.

“Our CAMHS team endeavours to support children and young people with severe mental health problems in community settings. As a result, this strategy has seen us increase access to specialist mental health teams in the community in addition to the support available from GPs, teachers and social workers.

“Our CAMHS teams are complimented by a wide range of intensive community services operating around the clock including crisis services and inpatient facilities, so this truly is a team effort.”

Another important benchmark for health boards is the number of children and young people who are admitted to adult psychiatric wards. Encouragingly, in NHSGGC the number of admissions of young people to adult psychiatric wards has dropped from 60 in 2009 to just seven in 2016.

Stephen added: “This is something we try to avoid, but sometimes there is no choice but to admit children to adults’ wards. In NHSGGC we have been working very hard to reduce these numbers, as it is not in the best interests of young people.

“Skye House, our purpose-built facility on the Stobhill Hospital site, opened in 2009 and provides a range of dedicated services for young people with severe mental health problems from across the West of Scotland.

CAHMS - Skye House

“Skye House provides inpatient treatment for young people with conditions like severe depression, eating disorders and psychosis among others. In addition to all the bedrooms at Skye House being en-suite, it also has a purpose-built gym, fully equipped classrooms, landscaped gardens and overnight accommodation for visiting families. Skye House was specially designed and purpose-built to meet young people’s needs and has led lead to substantial improvements in their care and treatment.

“An environment conducive to recovery and stability is crucial. Skye House offers a unique and unrivalled ability to offer young people what they have never had before – a home away from home.

“While we welcome today’s figures, we cannot be complacent and will continue to work to make the service as responsive as it can be to the needs of children and young people in our area.”