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Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Waiting Times

NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland

Child and Adolescent Mental Health HEAT Target

Latest Publications

Published: 06 June 2017
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Waiting Times
Publication Summary Download pdf file [321kb]
Full Report Download pdf file [839kb]


Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMH) are used to embrace the range of services across agencies that contribute to the mental health and care of children and young people (and their families and carers). Practitioners who contribute to CAMH services include: psychiatric nurses, child and adolescent psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, psychotherapists (including child/analytical, systemic/family, cognitive behavioural), creative therapists (including art, music and drama), play therapists, liaison teachers, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and dieticians.

Timely access to healthcare is a key measure of quality and that applies equally in respect of access to mental health services. Early action is more likely to result in full recovery and, in the case of children and young people, will also minimise the impact on other aspects of their development such as their education, so improving their wider social development outcomes.

CAMHS HEAT Access Target

In November 2012 the Scottish Government issued the Summary Report on the Application of NHSScotland Waiting Times Guidance.

In 2009 the HEAT target ‘By March 2013 no one will wait longer than 26 weeks from referral to treatment for specialist CAMH services’ was approved by the Scottish Government for inclusion in HEAT from April 2010.

Further information about the scope of the target and definitions for key measurement points can be found in the CAMH Waiting Times Definitions document Download PDF file [270kb]. A poster illustrating the key measurement points was produced by ISD Scotland and can be viewed here ISD New Ways Waiting Times Clock Download PDF file [120kb].

During the initial implementation of the target NHS Boards were offered training in 'New Ways' to ensure waiting times were captured in line with national guidance. The presentation which was used can be viewed here 2010 ISD New Ways & RTT Training Download Powerpoint file [1.2mb].

Further definitions and guidance in relation to 'New Ways' can be found on ISD's waiting times webpages.

CAMHS Waiting Times Publication Consultation

ISD has agreed with the Scottish Government's CAMHS Implementation Group that they will publish CAMHS waiting times on a quarterly basis in advance of target delivery in March 2013. The first CAMHs Waiting Times Report was published on the 28th August 2012 and covers data for the months of April, May and June 2012. In preparation for the first publication we produced a mock-up of how the information could be presented. Please note the data and interpretation in this mock-up are not real and are for illustrative purposes only. The CAMHS Implementation Monitoring and Support Group provided initial feedback on the suggested content contained within the mock-up. We made some small changes and then used this document to consult with a wider audience.

The deadline for responses was the 23rd of May 2012.

The mock-up is available to view Download PDF file [150kb].

View a summary of the responses to the consultation Download PDF file [100kb].

September 2010 Workshop

A workshop was held in September 2010 where colleagues from NHS Boards, Scottish Government and ISD could meet and discuss progress towards the CAMH waiting times HEAT target. This was an opportunity for the service to update on progress and emerging data issues, share different approaches/solutions, identify solutions to promote further progress, and plan next steps. NHS Boards presented practical approaches to implementing and recording definitions. Presentations from this event can be viewed below.

Links with other HEAT access targets

The HEAT target 'Deliver faster access to mental health services by delivering 18 weeks referral to treatment for Psychological therapies from December 2014' was approved by the Scottish Government in November 2010 for inclusion in HEAT from April 2011. This applies to all ages and therefore has some overlaps with the CAMHS HEAT target.

Further information can be found on the psychological therapies target webpage.

© ISD Scotland 2010
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