Child and Adolescent Mental Health Waiting Times

The main function of CAMHS is to develop and deliver services for those children and young people (and their parents/carers) who are experiencing the most serious mental health problems. They also have an important role in supporting the mental health capability of the wider network of children's services. CAMHS are usually delivered by multidisciplinary teams including nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and others.

Delivery of good quality CAMHS depends on adequate numbers of well trained staff being recruited and retained across NHSScotland. Practitioners who contribute to CAMHS 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 are subject to deliver an 18 week wait from referral to treatment for specialist services this has been the standard since December 2014. This supersedes the previous target of 26 weeks. The data shows the performances of the board in relation to this standard.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Source Waiting times are aggregate counts accredited and derived from individual NHS health boards which are submitted monthly to ISD using a defined Excel template.
Author Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team
Last Updated April 2, 2024, 09:34 (BST)
Created April 30, 2019, 16:33 (BST)
Contact Address Public Health Scotland, Gyle Square, 1 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9EB
Subject Waiting Times
Frequency Quarterly
Time frame of data and timeliness Data from July 2012, Did Not Attend Data from January 2015. Open cases are reported from January 2019.
Coverage NHS Board level data
Completeness 100% of submitted data are used for analysis and publication.
Accuracy PHS only receives aggregate data from each NHS Board. Although aggregated data cannot be systematically validated by PHS, reported data are compared to previous figures and to expected trends. Derivation of the figures and data accuracy are matters for individual NHS Boards
Concepts and definitions Adjusted: This is how long a person waited after taking into account any periods they were unavailable and any appointments that they missed or rearranged. If a person has no periods of unavailability and attends on the first date that they accept, then no adjustments are made to their waiting time
Disclosure The PHS protocol on Statistical Disclosure Protocol is followed
Revision statement Figures contained within each release may also be subject to change due to resubmission and board corrections
Official statistics designation National Statistics
Relevance and key uses of the statistics Waiting times are important to patients and are a measure of how the NHS is responding to demands for services. Measuring and regular reporting of waiting times highlights where there are delays in the system and enables monitoring of the effectiveness of NHS performance throughout the country. The NHS in Scotland has been set a number of standards for maximum waiting times. The standard for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Waiting Times is 18 weeks from referral to treatment
Format csv
Language English

England CAMHS Waiting Times

Wales CAMHS Waiting Times


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