Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Thursday) raised with Ministers the need for increased capacity in local child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in Orkney.
At General Questions, Mr McArthur highlighted the findings of a report for NHS Orkney by Professor Linda Gask from 2017 which confirmed that the need for recruitment of CAMHS staff was “urgent”. He pointed out to Minister for Public Health, Joe Fitzpatrick, that demand on the service had only increased since then.
Mr McArthur has also returned to the issue of changes at the Royal Cornhill Hospital, which have resulted in mental health team staff from Orkney, including CAMHS team members, having to accompany patients transferring from the islands to Aberdeen. This is having an impact on scheduled appointments and putting additional pressure on an already stretched service.
In response, Mr Fitzpatrick extended an invitation for Mr McArthur to meet his colleague, the Mental Health Minister, Clare Haughey to discuss the issue in more detail.
Commenting after the exchange, Mr McArthur commented:
"The need for increased capacity in local child and adolescent mental health services in Orkney is not new. It was a key finding in Professor Gask’s report back in 2017. Since then, however, demand on these services has continued to grow.
“At the same time, mental health staff, including members of the CAMHS team, are now required to escort patients transferring to Cornhill. As a result, scheduled appointments have to be cancelled and additional pressure is put on a service that is already stretched.
“I look forward to meeting the Minister in the near future to discuss in more detail what can be done to address these capacity issues.
“Young people who experience mental ill health are some of the most vulnerable in our community. It is essential, therefore, that services are in place at a time and in a way that meets their needs”.