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 March 2021.

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.

Referrals data from the Child, Adolescent, and Psychological Therapies National Dataset (CAPTND) has been published for the first time as an appendix to the main report.

A data quality issue has been identified for one NHS Board’s historic submissions in relation to the number of referrals in PT and CAMHS and this has resulted in relatively minor corrections to national total referral figures. The period revised covers Dec 2018 – June 2020 and revised data will show a slight increase in referral numbers. This has been corrected and for the correct version of these data, please view the 7 September 2021 publication.

Main points

For the quarter ending March 2021:

  • 4,089 children and young people started treatment at CAMHS in Scotland. This is similar to the 4,091 starting treatment from the previous quarter, but a decrease of 1% from the 4,131 starting treatment in the same quarter the previous year.
  • Over seven out of ten (72.5%) of children and young people were seen within 18 weeks, compared to 73.1% for the previous quarter and 66.6% for the quarter ending March 2020. The Scottish Government standard states that 90% of children and young people should start treatment within 18 weeks of referral to CAMHS.
  • One in two of the children and young people seen started their treatment within nine weeks, which is an increase from seven weeks in the previous quarter, but a decrease from the same quarter the previous year where one in two of children and young people were seen within 11 weeks.

Percentage of patients who started treatment in CAMHS within 18 weeks of referral, by quarter, NHSScotland

Chart showing the percentage of patients who started treatment in CAMHS within 18 weeks of referral, by quarter, NHSScotland
  • Across Scotland, one in six children and young people (16.8%) referred to CAMHS did not attend their first appointment. This is an increase from the previous quarter of 14.2% and from the same quarter ending March 2020, where 13.4% did not attend their first appointment.
  • 7,715 children and young people were referred to CAMHS in Scotland for quarter ending March 2021. This compares to 9,187 for the previous quarter, and 9,019 for the quarter ending March 2020.

Total number of Referrals by quarter, NHSScotland March 2016 – March 2021

Chart showing the total number of referrals by quarter, NHSScotland March 2016 – March 2021

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 7 September 2021.

General enquiries

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

Media enquiries

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: 07 September 2021
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