SCOTLAND’s mental health services were branded a “national disgrace” yesterday, after dire new statistics revealed huge waiting times for young people.

Between January and March 2018, 11 of Scotland’s 14 regional health boards failed to meet the Government’s 18-week waiting time target for 90% of children and adolescent mental health services.

On average, only around 71.% were seen within 18-weeks, down from 84% last year.

This figure also disguises stark evidence of a postcode lottery.

Only NHS Ayrshire & Arran, NHS Shetland and NHS Western Isles met the targets. While 89.9% of patients in NHS Dumfries & Galloway are seen within 19 weeks, it’s just 40.7% in NHS Tayside.

The statistics also revealed that 35 young people had been waiting for more than a year.

The Scottish Government’s Mental Health Minister, Maureen Watt, said that some boards are failing to meet targets set by Holyrood.

“While the average wait for treatment is 10 weeks, many boards must improve their performance and I will continue to meet with those boards which fall short of our expectations.”

Labour’s Anas Sarwar, said: “If these figures were replicated in our A&E wards there would be a national outcry.

“We hear plenty from ministers about parity of esteem for mental health services and acute services – but these figures show that just is not happening.”

Lib Dem Alex Cole-Hamilton called for an increase in spending: “The failure of ministers to improve mental health services is having a devastating impact on young people and their families.

“At that age, waiting over a year for the help you desperately need must feel like a lifetime.”