LETTERS: Child mental health fears for extra long-term costs

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we were struck by the latest figures which highlight the fact that more than half of health boards are failing to meet an 18-week waiting time target for children and young people to access treatment for mental health conditions (News, August 26).

While we applaud the additional £100m of funding the Scottish Government has invested in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), more action is clearly needed to ensure that these vulnerable young people receive the vital support they both deserve and require.

Indeed, evidence points to the fact that only 0.45% of NHS Scotland expenditure is spent on child and adolescent mental health, compared with 0.7% in England and 0.8% in Wales.

Against the background of a greatly increased demand for CAMHS, it is vital that the Scottish Government act quickly and increase investment from this current figure, as well as ensuring that health boards which are failing to meet waiting time targets are given the support they need to address this. This will mean that those children and young people requiring these vital services do not miss out.

Families usually experience months of waiting, even before a referral to CAMHS and the consequent delay in diagnosis and appropriate support can result in crisis for the young person and their family and the need for costly extra resources.

The long-term cost to society of failing to treat these conditions is well-established, with those affected more likely to be unemployed, in the criminal justice system or ending up in extremely costly long-term care.

The Scottish Children’s Services:

Sophie Pilgrim, Kindred Scotland

Tom McGhee, Spark of Genius

Duncan Dunlop, Who Cares? Scotland

Stuart Jacob, Falkland House School

Niall Kelly, Young Foundations

Wilson right to challenge Police Scotland record

RECENT scathing comments by former SNP leader Gordon Wilson about Police Scotland have been revelatory.

I too have been a SNP supporter for over 40 years and along with other members of the public I am not happy with Police Scotland and their approach to public concerns.

Many people were worried when local police stations were closed down. There was a comfort in the knowledge that one could actually talk to a person rather than a voice from a call centre. Irrespective of the odd occasion it might be required, it was reassuring.

Local crime, irrespective of statistics, would appear to be increasing.The growing use of firearms, particularly it seems in the Gilmerton area, is rather alarming.

The incident where a couple were left unattended after a car crash, resulting in what could have been preventable death, still haunts me.

The death in Kirkaldy of Sheku Bayoh stirs up thoughts of American ways of custody and riots.

The authoritarian manner of Sir Stephen House and his Strathclyde approach to local matters first came to light when the Edinburgh saunas were Glasgow-fied and subject to their west country approach. Such matters were previously accepted by the good citizens of Edinburgh with a broad tolerance that has now disappeared. Margo MacDonald would rise in her grave.

The government has to address the public’s concerns. This has been one of their flagship policies and I, along with many others, will be watching closely their reaction to Gordon Wilson’s concerns and their answer to the apparently ineffective Police Authority.

Douglas Thomson, Moray Place, Edinburgh

Festival content lacks much Scottish input

The only festival events I ever attended in a long life were the military tattoo featuring Englishmen in kilts, a theatre rendering of Hugh MacDiarmid’s ‘A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle’ and a Gaelic concert where I heard the authentic voice of Alba.

As to the rest on offer, it is alien, cosmopolitan and largely the voice of the home counties.

Plainly it sucks if you are an Albannach and what survives of Iber Scot from the Plains of Abraham, as distinct from the ‘more English than the English’ around here.

David Plenderleith Phillips, Broomfield Crescent, Edwin’s burg

Room tax can help raise funding for city

The obvious way to raise any extra funding for the city is by a hotel room tax of £1 per room per night, with the monies being ring-fenced to fund the various festivals that bring so much to the economy of Edinburgh.

The hotels in Edinburgh make millions every year, not only during the festival period in August, yet no doubt we will have to listen to the usual complaints from the hoteliers should such a tax be implemented.

The usual statements concerning losing tourists, people not coming to Edinburgh etc will be trotted out but should be ignored. The fact is, hotel prices during the Festival are pushed up in order to fleece the tourists with nothing being given back to Edinburgh.

The system works in many European cities and indeed, when faced with such an item on a hotel bill in one of these cities, my first thought is always ‘Edinburgh should be doing this’.

Never mind the usual moans from the hotel industry, tourists who want to come to Edinburgh will still come, an extra £7 per week for a hotel room will not be a deterrent.

Any hoteliers objecting due to this should be told to reduce their prices by £1 per night if it is such a worry.

David Bruce, Saughton Road North, Edinburgh