Record high child mental health waiting numbers in Scotland

Record high child mental health waiting numbers in Scotland

The number of children and adolescents waiting to see a mental health specialist has reached record numbers, new figures show.

At the end of December, there were 10,820 young people waiting to start treatment at CAMHS.

This compares with 9,337 during the same period in 2018 and a low of 7,620 in December 2017.

The official stats show that two-thirds of children were seen within 18 weeks, well below the 90% target.

The Scottish government standard states children and young people should start treatment within 18 weeks of referral to CAMHS.

In the last three months of last year only NHS Borders, NHS Orkney and NHS Western Isles met the standard, with NHS Lothian seeing less than half within the allotted timeframe.

The statistics show 272 children and young people who were seen during the final quarter of 2019 had waited over a year.

A further 589 children who were still waiting at the end of December had already been waiting over a year.

There were 3,884 children and young people starting treatment in the final quarter of 2019, a 14.1% decrease from the same quarter in 2018.

There are now more than 30,000 open cases in CAMHS.

Mental health problems

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition said the waiting time figures highlighted the “desperate need” for increased investment.

A spokesman said: “The simple fact is that we are continuing to fail thousands of children and young people with mental health problems, and more clearly needs to be done to address this epidemic.”

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said the Scottish government was creating new CAMHS posts as well as strengthening the support available in communities and schools.

She said: “This year’s Programme for Government builds on this progress even further.”

That includes community wellbeing services for children and young people and a new 24/7 crisis support service, Ms Haughey said.

Scottish Labour’s Mary Fee said: “At a time when youth suicides have been increasing these figures should shame SNP ministers into action.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Problems that start small are becoming crises as help arrives too late.”

He called for a mental health practitioner in every GP practice and new 24 hours a day service in A&E.

Ex-health chief: Tayside mental health inquiry ‘screwed’ service plans

Ex-health chief: Tayside mental health inquiry ‘screwed’ service plans

A former health board chief has sparked fury by suggesting a landmark inquiry into mental health services should not have gone ahead because it held up work to improve care.

Crawford Reid, former chairman of the Perth and Kinross integrated joint board (IJB), believes the independent inquiry “completely screwed” plans to redesign local mental health facilities.

The inquiry, led by former prisons governor David Strang, strongly criticised what it described as a loss of “trust and respect” in local psychiatric services.

But Dr Reid believes the launch of the inquiry – at the behest of the bereaved families of suicide victims – has set progress back in Tayside by two years.

The redesign was signed off in January 2018 by Perth and Kinross IJB, which is in charge of inpatient mental health services, but was put on hold following the inquiry’s interim report in May last year.

Ahead of an NHS meeting to discuss a proposed action plan on mental health tomorrow (Thursday), Dr Reid said: “Several aspects of the inquiry report give me great concern. (Ex-chair and ex-chief executive) John Brown and Malcolm Wright came in at a time when Tayside was in a dysfunctional shape – it was a knee-jerk reaction.

“I’m not minimising how ruinous suicide is but what’s happened is the mental health transformation programme has been basically put on hold.

“If the transformation programme had started to move in, things would have improved with a full complement of consultants.

“They completely screwed it.”

Relatives of those who took their own lives after engaging with local mental health services have criticised Dr Reid’s comments as poorly considered.

Gillian Murray, whose uncle David Ramsay died in 2016 due to alleged “negligence” of NHS staff, said: “I’m quite shocked to read these comments.

“There have been ample opportunities for genuine change with regards to mental health services in Tayside over the years given the sheer volume of investigations and horror stories.

“Nothing was changing hence why I, and others campaigned for this inquiry.

“Perhaps if these fantastic changes that are being proposed had actually been implemented years ago, lives would have been saved and there would have been no need for an inquiry.”

Gillian Murray

She added: “I feel yet again that we, the bereaved families who campaigned tirelessly for change, are being used as a scapegoat for the never-ending list of failures.”

Mandy McLaren, who lost her son Dale Thomson to suicide in 2015, said: “The redesign was in the interim report, and it did say it should be halted.

“The matter with him is he doesn’t want to take any responsibility for the part they all played in allowing these failures and allowing these deaths.”

Following a near-two-year investigation, the Independent Inquiry issued 51 recommendations  on February 5.

Witnesses who gave accounts to the inquiry described how the transformation programme appeared to be little more than an asset management plan to save money.

However, Dr Reid believes that, with time, the programme could have gradually reintroduced localised care at facilities such as the Mulberry Unit in Angus, which was mothballed in 2017 despite being only despite being opened in 2011.

He also believes independent case reviews should have been held for each person who dies after engaging with mental health services.

“If you look at each and every recommendation there’s not one that moves the process of improving mental health services in Tayside one inch forward,” he added.

“Not one of those 51 recommendations, without the transformation programme going on, will improve anything.

The Susan Carnegie Centre, at Stracathro Hospital, which housed the Mulberry unit.

“The transformation programme had no time to bed in and move forward – if it had been allowed to develop the situation would have been fantastic compared to what it was two years ago.

“It’s not perfect but it’s far better than what we’ve been left with at this time. The sooner it gets put back on the boiler the better.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, this inquiry should not have gone ahead.”

NHS Tayside and the independent inquiry have been contacted for comment.

“We really need to work with staff to fix mental health”

Renewed calls have been made by NHS staff representatives for health bosses to work with them to improve mental health services in Tayside following the publication of the Strang report.

Jenny Alexander, employee director at NHS Tayside and a Unison rep, said the 51 recommendations were unlikely to be met unless staff were on board with the health board’s plans

She warned that actions could not be rushed through in the way the mental health transformation programme was perceived to be by some observers in 2018.

She told a meeting of Dundee’s health and social care partnership board (HSCP) yesterday: “The partnership aspect of this is very, very important.

“If we are running off and doing things like in 2018 we’re not going to do anything differently.

“We really need to start working in partnership with staff-side – if we don’t have staff on side we will never get through those 51 recommendations.

“We need to make sure we have improvements done for these people that we’re caring for.”

The independent inquiry found that staff reported feeling disrespected and undervalued by senior colleagues.

One mental health staffer described the atmosphere in mental health services as “a culture of fear”.

Arlene Mitchell, Dundee HSCP locality manager, says actions have already been taken in response to the inquiry.

These include the creation of new senior mental health posts, a new process for investigating adverse events and a plan to improve better support for those leaving mental health inpatient services.

Ms Mitchell said: “From a Dundee perspective, we’re in a good position…to ensure a strong staff partnership approach.

“We feel there’s a need to strengthen some of the staff partnership activity.”

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here  

Nearly half of Dundee suicide victims sought crisis help in the year before death

Nearly half of Dundee suicide victims sought crisis help in the year before death

VIDEO: ‘You never get over it’ – Dundee parents discuss their children’s suicides

VIDEO: ‘You never get over it’ – Dundee parents discuss their children’s suicides

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 
‘The services must change’ – Council leader John Alexander responds to Tayside mental health report

‘The services must change’ – Council leader John Alexander responds to Tayside mental health report

The leader of Dundee City Council has responded to an independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside.

John Alexander has today posted a statement on Facebook, stating that the capacity of the services “needs to increase” and that there are “too many people spread too thinly”.

An inquiry to examine the accessibility, safety, quality and standards of care provided by all mental health services in the region was commissioned after concerns were raised in the Scottish Parliament.

The final report, Trust and Respect, was published last week and was chaired by David Strang CBE.

Mr Alexander wrote: “Last week in a 136-page document, Dr David Strang set out the results and recommendations stemming from the independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside.

“I spent the weekend pouring over the entirety of the document, considering it’s contents and thinking about what kind of service could be provided if those 51 recommendations are adopted.

“It’s vital that each word on those page is taken in. It was hard hitting, honest and to be frank, painted a deeply worrying picture of where things were.

“Mental health and it’s impact on too many people is an issue very close to my heart, even closer more recently but it’s also something that isn’t talked about enough – between family members and friends. I spent my Sunday morning with friends and one of the things we were talking about was the battles with mental health.

“I defy anyone to find someone that doesn’t have a family member, friend or someone that they work with who hasn’t suffered from issues related to mental health.

“We need to continue to remove any stigma associated with it and support those who need support. There is of course, a wide spectrum and the impacts can often be unseen, sometimes until it’s too late.

“There continues to be a significant number of people in crisis, at the end of their tether and struggling to manage daily life. What this report says very strongly and clearly is that people have been let down by services in Tayside. What it also says is that going forward, the services must change.

“The bottom line for me is that the capacity of those services needs to increase. There are too many people spread too thinly and too many silos that don’t allow for sustained collaboration.

“The Chief Executive of NHS Tayside has, to his credit, apologised for those failings and has said that his “…personal commitment to the people of Tayside is that I will work with them to address all the recommendations made by Dr Strang in his report.”

Grant Archibald.

“I’ve already discussed the matter with officers and look forward to meeting with NHS colleagues to see what actions have already been taken forward and hear how they intent to address the 51 recommendations.

“This report has been long anticipated and whilst I think there was a general expectation that there were issues, the fact that it has done such a thorough analysis and 1,500 interviews during that process should provide the evidence base required to make some big and necessary changes.”

 

Link to Evening  Telegraph article here 

NHS boss apologises for mental health service failings in Tayside

NHS boss apologises for mental health service failings in Tayside

The chief executive of NHS Tayside has publicly apologised to patients, family and staff for the failings of mental health services laid bare in a damning report.

Grant Archibald has also pledged that he personally will oversee and drive change and improvement in the mental health care offered by the health board.

Mr Archibald spoke to the Tele six days after the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Mental Health Services in Tayside was published.

David Strang’s Trust and Respect report identified 51 recommendations to be implemented to improve mental health services in Tayside.

It also highlighted numerous failings, including a breakdown of trust and respect, a failure to deliver services, a lack of psychiatrists, a lack of leadership and a lack of accountability.

Mr Archibald said: “We apologise, I apologise to all patients and families who have felt let down by services.

“Our aim is to care for each individual patient. I apologise if that has not happened.”

“Dr Strang’s report was hugely important for Tayside and for the people of Tayside.

“We recognised 18 month ago the level of concern there was over mental health services in Tayside. We responded by commissioning the independent review.

“We now realise that it is important that we now learn from this report which goes into  significant detail following interviews with 1,500 people during the process.

“It is important that we listen to these voices and to the experiences detailed by patients and others.

“First of all we apologise, we have listened and now we need to learn and change.

“We must rebuild confidence in the NHS and we recognise that that is not going to be easy.

“My personal commitment to the  people of Tayside is that I will work with them to address all the recommendations made by Dr Strang in his report.”

Among the recommendations the board are now going to look at are the provision of a 24/7  crisis care centre.

A review will also take place into its current facilities, including Carseview, to establish whether they are fit for purpose.

Meanwhile, allegations of bullying from staff will also be investigated, and the board is also going to attempt to identify new ways of attracting more staff, including more psychiatrists.

Mr Archibald said that the process of change had already begin, with a statement of intent now signed by him, the chief executives of the local authorities in the board area, and police

He added: “This will take time but we will be listening and  we are are committed to learning from past mistakes

“I personally will be playing a key role and will continually report back progress that is made.

“We are aware the the spotlight is now on us I will be ensuring that all the recommendations made by Dr Strang to improve mental health services are acted upon.”

“I recognise there are challenges with all of these issues but there is a real enthusiasm  to meet these challenges and improve mental health services provided by NHS Tayside.”

Mr Archibald said Dr Strang will return in a year’s time, by which point he hoped to “provide him with the evidence that change is actively taking place”.

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here  

Tragedy as woman pulled from River Tay dies in Ninewells Hospital

Tragedy as woman pulled from River Tay dies in Ninewells Hospital

A young woman pulled from the River Tay on Monday has died in hospital.

The woman, who has not been named, is understood to have been in the Tay at the south side of the road bridge for around 15 minutes before she was rescued.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Around 11.35am on Monday, 10 February officers responded to a report of concern for a woman in the River Tay near Dundee.

“A 32-year-old woman was recovered from the water and taken to Ninewells Hospital where she later died.

“There are no apparent suspicious circumstances and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

A statement from Broughty Ferry lifeboat crew said: “Broughty Ferry RNLI crews responded with both lifeboats to a report of person in river near to Tay Road Bridge.

“The call came in via coastguard at 11.37am. By 12pm the first lifeboat had arrived on scene to find the casualty had been removed from the water on to a local work boat.

“The casualty was then transferred to the all-weather lifeboat where crews provided emergency care during rapid transfer to lifeboat station, where the casualty was passed into the care of waiting ambulance crews.”

The spokesman said the conditions for the crew were difficult during the rescue.

He added: “This was a difficult rescue and the crew are all understandably subdued.”

The statement continued: “If you are worried about something or know somebody who needs help but don’t know how to approach things then call Breathing Space on 0800 838587.”

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

City council called upon to play their part in mental health care in Dundee

City council called upon to play their part in mental health care in Dundee

A senior politician has said no stone should be left unturned if the city is to address the deepening mental health crisis.

Labour leader on Dundee City Council Kevin Keenan said that the independent inquiry into mental health services in  NHS Tayside published this week, which set out 50 recommendations, raised very concerning issues.

Mr Keenan said: “Everything I have read so far shows that there needs to be some level of spending from Dundee City Council to help achieve the recommendations  laid out by the report.

“I have written to the council’s chief executive David Martin to ask what that level of financial commitment will be.

Mr Keenan added: “I have also asked him to address the issues and have further asked whether there is any opportunity to receive government funding given that the NHS in Tayside has effectively let down individuals and those in need of care.”

Mr Keenan said that the council had a crucial role to play as one of the partners involved in  caring for people with mental health issues in Dundee.

He said: “Through  our council housing services and our social work department we regularly come into contact with people with mental health issues.

David Martin, chief executive of Dundee City Council

“I want to know how we can provide better support, particularity following on the concerns raised by the  independent  inquiry report.

“There is little doubt that there is a link in Dundee between mental health and drug taking issues and the previous Fair Commission held in the city highlighted this and committed to providing appropriate care.

Mr Keenan added: “It also concerns  me that many children in Dundee  suffer as a result of mental health and drug issues.

“We should be looking at how we can best support these children. We have one of the highest number of Looked After Children and many sibling groups would have been split – something which I understand this report has been very critical of.

“I would hope that we could have some level of case review undertaken fairly quickly – if we are getting it wrong for any child then we must address this promptly. ”

A Dundee City Council spokesman said: “The chief executive will respond to Bailie Keenan in due course.”

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here  

Sturgeon urged to save failing mental health services at NHS Tayside

Sturgeon urged to save failing mental health services at NHS Tayside

NICOLA STURGEON was pressed to intervene and save failing mental health services at a Scottish health board today after the publication of a damning report earlier this week.

At First Minister’s Questions, the SNP leader was pushed to commit to a swathe of measures at NHS Tayside.

The independent inquiry into mental health services in the region found a culture of “fear and blame,” with more than 50 suggestions made about how to make improvements.

Scotland’s Labour leader Richard Leonard asked Ms Sturgeon whether her government would step in at the health board and put in place “special measures” to ensure implementation of the recommendations.

He said: “NHS Tayside has a history of evading scrutiny, deflecting criticism and resisting change.

“They have repeatedly ignored recommendations from Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Mental Welfare Commission.

“Will you today instruct your Cabinet Secretary to re-escalate NHS Tayside’s mental health services so that your government steps in to drive the transformation of mental health services in Tayside?

“First Minister, will you do the right thing?”

Ms Sturgeon said she offered her apologies to all families who had been let down by the NHS.

She added: “The Scottish government will continue to take the action that is already under way and we will consider all suggestions.

“We will continue to monitor the progress of NHS Tayside through the Tayside Oversight Group, which is a vital part of the picture here.

“As I said, the Mental Health Minister will keep Parliament updated and we have proactively asked David Strang to review this after a year and to provide an update into the progress that has been made.”

‘It wasn’t just a few families making a fuss’: Man behind damning NHS Tayside mental health report warns there will be no quick-fixes

‘It wasn’t just a few families making a fuss’: Man behind damning NHS Tayside mental health report warns there will be no quick-fixes

The man behind a damning review of mental health services in Tayside has warned there will be no quick fixes.

Link to Dundee Courier article here