About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) waiting times for the quarter to 31 December 2020.

NHS Boards, made changes to their service delivery in March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All NHS Boards have advised that the measures put in place have had an impact on their figures. More information can be found in the Data Quality document.

Main points

For the quarter ending December 2020:

  • 4,091 children and young people started treatment at CAMHS in Scotland. This is an increase of 59 (1.5%) patients from the previous quarter, and an increase of 207 (5.3%) patients from the same quarter the previous year.
  • Nearly three quarters (73.1%) of children and young people were seen within 18 weeks, compared to 60.6% for the previous quarter and 66.4% for the quarter ending December 2019. The Scottish Government standard states that 90% of children and young people should start treatment within 18 weeks of referral to CAMHS.
  • Half of the children and young people seen started their treatment within seven weeks, which is the same as the previous quarter, and a decrease from the same quarter the previous year where half of children and young people were seen within 11 weeks.
Image caption Percentage of patients who started treatment in CAMHS within 18 weeks of referral, by quarter, NHSScotland
Percentage of patients who started treatment in CAMHS within 18 weeks of referral, by quarter, NHSScotland.
  • Across Scotland, one in seven patients (14.2%) referred to CAMHS did not attend their first appointment. This is a slight decrease from the previous quarter of 14.8% but an increase from the same quarter ending December 2019 where 11.7% did not attend their first appointment. This could be due to reluctance, or inability, to engage in digital appointments.
  • 9,187 children and young people were referred to CAMHS in Scotland for quarter ending December 2020. This compares to 7,271 for the previous quarter, and 9,196 for the quarter ending December 2019.
Image caption Total number of Referrals by quarter, NHSScotland December 2015 – December 2020
Total number of Referrals by quarter, NHSScotland December 2015 – December 2020.

Background

The main function of CAMHS is to develop and deliver services for children and young people who are experiencing mental health problems. They also have an important role in supporting the mental health capacity of wider children’s services. Delivery of good quality CAMHS depends on timely access to health care and adequate numbers of well trained staff being recruited and retained across NHSScotland.

Further information

Data from this publication are available from the data files section at the top of this page.

The next release of this publication will be 1 June 2021.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.camh@phs.scot.

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If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 15 July 2021
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