YOUNGSTERS in Fife needing mental health services are falling victim to a 'postcode lottery' as recent figures show less than £45 was spent on their care compared to more than £100 in other Scottish regions.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland has expressed concern at the regional disparities which they say is putting the mental health of children and young people at risk.

The figures come after the Press reported last month that 54 young people had been waiting more than a year for vital mental health treatment in Fife.

The statistics showed an increase of 74 per cent compared to the previous year's figure of 31.

The Public Health Scotland figures highlighted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists revealed the level of spending per head of population on mental health services for children and young people aged 0-17 years.

Varying significantly across the country, they claim the average Fife spend was £44 compared to more than £105 in Tayside in 2019/20.

The college has now made a call to all political parties, in the run-up to the Scottish Parliamentary elections, to look at how Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) funding can be changed so there is effective delivery of services across Scotland.

They have also asked that one per cent of what is spent on health is used to support the mental health of children and young people during the next parliamentary term.

Dr Helen Smith, chair of the CAMHS faulty at RCPsych in Scotland, said: “The level of spending on CAMHS across the country really is quite striking. Huge areas are vastly underfunded, while other areas with a lower population are receiving more money.

“It doesn’t make sense that a child under the age of 17 gets a different level of service when it comes to their mental health depending on where they live.

“We do welcome recent investment of £40m but it’s only the first step towards ensuring there is equivalent resourcing for children and young people’s physical and mental health care and as our figures show, disparities between health boards need to be tackled.”

Mental health minister Clare Haughey said recently: “The £120 million we have announced for our Mental Health Recovery and Renewal Fund is the single largest investment in mental health in the history of devolution.

“It will prioritise our ongoing work to improve specialist CAMHS services, address long waiting times and clear waiting list backlogs.”

Nicky Connor, director of Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership, said last month: “Fife CAMHS continues to prioritise children and young people with the most significant mental health needs. CAMHS is committed to ensuring that the support provided is both timely and reflects the needs of each individual.

“Despite recent improvements against the national waiting times targets, Fife CAMHS continues to work on improving the responsiveness of the service and the quality of service delivery.”