Mental health services

NHS Borders, Newstead
NHS Borders, Newstead

The average waiting time for children and adolescents’ mental health services has tripled in the Borders in the space of a year.

Figures show that the previous waiting time of four weeks, from 2012/13 to 2016/17, jumped to 13 weeks in 2017/18, prompting Rachael Hamilton, the MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, to comment: “With social media and other modern day pressures, there seems to be a significant rise in the number of mental health problems in young people.

“To hear that they are now having to wait for three months to see someone in the Borders is just not acceptable. I will write to the minister for mental health for an explanation as to why there has been such a significant jump.”

NHS Borders’ chief officer Robert McCulloch-Graham said staffing availability and overall capacity of the service has led to the increase in waiting times, commenting: “We recognise that for routine referrals there appears to have been an increase in the average time from referral to treatment for patients accessing this service. This has been due to a combination of staffing availability and overall capacity within the service.

“To improve the situation we have increased the capacity of the CAHMS team and have already seen a reduction in waiting times; we expect our waiting times to return to previous performance levels in the next six months.  

“We continue to work closely with social care colleagues to provide a diverse and rounded service for young people in the Borders.”