The number of children and young people in Wales waiting over 14 weeks to access psychiatric services is nearly five times higher than two years ago, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have revealed today.
In April 2013, 282 children had been waiting over 14 weeks. However, the most recent figures show that there are now 1,332 children waiting longer than that period.
The then Children’s Commissioner, Peter Clarke, warned in his annual report in 2005-2006 that children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) were “in crisis across Wales”. However, the waiting lists continue to grow.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats would enshrine parity of esteem between mental and physical health on the face of future legislation. The Minister for Health would then report annually to the Assembly on progress towards the goal of parity between mental and physical health.
In Wales, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and all mental health hospital services aren’t subject to the same rigorous ‘referral to treatment’ time targets as other NHS services. Click here to sign our petition to put mental health on the same footing as physical health.
Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:
“These figures are appalling and show that mental health waiting lists are spiralling out of control.
“For too long mental health services have been an afterthought of Governments. This complacency means our mental health services are miles behind where they should be.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe there must be a radical change in the way in which our NHS approaches mental health services. That is why we would ensure that patients suffering from mental health will have equal rights to access diagnosis and treatments as those requiring physical health care.
“It’s over a decade since the Children’s Commissioner declared youth mental health services to be in ‘crisis across Wales’, yet many child health experts still believe that is the case. In England, the Government has said child mental health services need a ‘complete overhaul’. It’s time the Welsh Labour Government took its head out of the sand and accepted this is the case in Wales too.”