Letters: Children’s mental health services failing targets

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Like Audit Scotland, we too share many concerns regarding the ability of NHS Boards to meet waiting time targets for patients looking to access treatment.

It is estimated that around ten per cent of children and young people in Scotland have mental health problems that are so significant they impact on their daily lives. Timely access to healthcare is, therefore, vital.

However, figures indicate that the vast majority of health boards are currently failing to meet a 26-week waiting time target for those looking for treatment from specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), introduced in March 2013 and are, therefore, clearly at risk of missing a Scottish Government target of an 18-week waiting time, which comes into force next month.

In addition, figures published by the Mental Welfare Commission indicate that the number of children being admitted to non-specialist units such as adult and paediatric wards has increased from 177 last year to 202, meaning they may not be getting the support require.

It is also worth noting that there is no secure/locked provision in Scotland for under-18s and no units for those with severe learning disabilities. Those with forensic needs or challenging behaviour and learning disability are sometimes sent to units in England.

As the number of referrals increases and the number of child and adolescent psychiatrists falls, the cost and impact of mental health conditions have not, by and large, been reflected by an increased investment in Scottish mental health services.

We are at a crisis point and high level strategic management is required in order to get a grip on the situation and make these services fit for purpose.

The Scottish Government, local authorities and NHS Health Boards must act now before this situation gets any worse.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition, Walker Street, Edinburgh

Our future lies within the UK, not the EU

It would be easy to dismiss Nicola Sturgeon’s demand for a Scottish veto on leaving the EU, as just another case of an SNP politician claiming that the tail should wag the dog (October 29). After all, Texas has no veto on the affairs of the US federal government, nor Bavaria on those of the German government.

However, Ms Sturgeon has helpfully, although unintentionally, 
highlighted Scotland’s choice of futures either in the UK or in the EU, but not both.

Immigration is undoubtedly uncontrollable while we remain in the EU. Outside the EU, we could control both the number and the quality of immigrants in the interests of the people already settled on our island.

Similarly, the EU is the original driver behind our economically ruinous energy policy, which pushes up our electricity bills, destroys jobs and will soon lead to brownouts and blackouts. And the ruinous effects of the euro deserve an entire book rather than a letter.

Scotland fits naturally into the UK – we share our language, our island and our history. We share none of these with our European neighbours. Also, splitting the UK’s integrated economy would collapse our standard of living. In the cold light of day, I have no doubt which future the majority of Scots would prefer.

Otto Inglis, Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh

City traffic management has run out of ideas

I am dismayed at Edinburgh council’s traffic management ideas. They need to sit down and have a total rethink on where we go from here.

Edinburgh city centre is just a nightmare to get round for everyone. George Street is just one big traffic mess. Many people can’t even afford to shop in George Street, but to have people sitting outside eating and drinking just doesn’t look good.

I nearly bumped into a waitress carrying two meals out to one of those tent things. If the people dealing with Edinburgh’s traffic plans aren’t up to the job, then get fresh blood in and start again, but for goodness’ sake do something better than we have at the moment.

I would say it’s a joke, but it’s certainly no laughing matter for the people who live and work and visit what used to be a lovely city centre.

Susan Smart, Penicuick

Read SNP ministers’ lips, no new taxes

SNP ministers continually say in interviews that there will be no tax increases. How does that sit with their policy of a “local income tax”?

This is the policy that they tried to keep quiet by spending more than £100,000 of taxpayers’ money in legal fees trying to block a Freedom of Information request.

This is a tax that will replace the council tax and although details have not been finalised, it looks like it will hit households with incomes of more than £25,000 and will be set at, at least three per cent or more.

What is also troubling is that presenters and interviewers, do not challenge these ministers when they say “no tax increases”.

Bryon Smith, Grangemouth

The nationalists are not a republican party

May I point out to Ms Smythe (Letters, October 31) that the SNP didn’t change its policy on retaining the Queen. It is not, and never has been, a republican party and ever since its foundation intended keeping the monarchy.

Charmain Lamont, Magdalene Avenue, Edinburgh