Mental health patients are being let down by pressures on the NHS, according to a Fife MSP.

Increasing numbers face lengthy waits for the treatment “they desperately need”.

Mid Scotland and Fife Labour politician Alex Rowley has voiced grave concerns after latest figures showed more than a third of patients are waiting more than 18 weeks to be seen for both psychological therapies and child and adolescent mental health services in Fife.

According to ISD statistics for October to December 37.5% of patients on waiting lists have breached the 18-week point despite the Scottish Government’s target of 90% of patients starting treatment within that timeframe.

At the end of the year, 3,039 patients on psychological therapies waiting lists were still waiting to be seen, with 147 patients having waited more than a year.

The statistics are coupled with an increase in patients waiting longer than the 18-week target for child and adolescent mental health services.

More than 36% of young people had to wait more than 18 weeks before being seen for treatment by NHS Fife, nearly a 13% increase on the previous year end quarter.

There has also been a large increase in the number of young people waiting between 36 and 52 weeks, increasing each quarter from 2.6% in December 2016 to 14.9% in December 2017.

Mr Rowley said: “These figures make for sobering reading.

“I have been raising concerns about the pressures facing our NHS for some time in regard to mental health provision.

“What this shows is that the health service is struggling to cope with the demand.

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