An NHS Ayrshire and Arran patient waited almost two years to see a mental health specialist, it has been revealed.

The Scottish Conservatives obtained statistics using Freedom of Information legislation that provided waiting times in each health board.

It shows how long youngsters had to wait for their first Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) appointment until the middle of 2023.

The data revealed that a patient in Ayrshire and Arran waited 91 weeks for an appointment.

Cumnock Chronicle: The figures showed the NHS Ayrshire & Arran waiting time.The figures showed the NHS Ayrshire & Arran waiting time. (Image: NQ Archive)

Elsewhere, a patient in NHS Highland waited 150 weeks for their first appointment, while another in NHS Tayside patient waited 111 weeks.

Dr Sandesh Gulhane, health spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: "The pandemic has worsened Scotland’s mental health crisis, particularly among young people, and waits of up to three years at a crucial time in their development are intolerable and life-threatening for those who are suicidal or in despair.

"CAMHS practitioners are doing all they can to match the enormous demand for their services – but they are completely overwhelmed.

"Humza Yousaf owes young mental health patients an apology for the dismal failure of his Covid recovery plan to clear CAMHS waiting times by March 2023.

“But the SNP’s failure predates the pandemic – they have never met their target for 90% of children and young people to start treatment within 18 weeks of referral since its introduction in 2014.”

Cumnock Chronicle: Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh GulhaneTory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane (Image: PA Media)

Dr Kandarp Joshi, chair of CAMHS at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said the figures came as "no surprise."

He said: "It's quite unbelievable that the numbers are still way of the Scottish Government’s own targets.

"Our vulnerable children and young people deserve so much better than this.

"While we welcomed investment through the Mental Health and Renewal Fund, funding in real terms will have gone down due to inflation and ministers cannot assume that the job is now done.

"Spending in mental health support services at all levels needs to be sustained and planned to enable services across the country to meet the increasing demand.

"Again, we call on the Scottish Government to increase spending and keep their own promises of 10% of the total NHS spend going towards mental health and 1% for CAMHS."

Cumnock Chronicle: Mental Wellbeing Minister Maree Todd.Mental Wellbeing Minister Maree Todd. (Image: PA Media)

Responding to the figures, Mental Wellbeing Minister Maree Todd said: "Long waiting times such as this are unacceptable – it is vital that all children and young people receive the right support, at the right time.

"The latest figures show that we continue to see significant and sustained progress on CAMHS waiting times – 13 out of 14 boards have now effectively eliminated long waits.

"We remain committed to supporting all boards to meet the standard that 90% of patients start treatment within 18 weeks of referral.

"More than £1.3billion will support mental health services, with £290.2 million direct investment – more than doubled since 2020/21 – enabling record numbers of staff to provide more varied support and services to a larger number of people than ever before.

"CAMHS services are supported by both budgets, with boards determining levels of funding at a local level."