CONCERNS over the number of missed mental health appointments in the Borders has reached the Scottish Government.

As we reported last month, more than 1,000 mental health-related appointments are missed with NHS Borders services every year.

And by far the most 'no shows' are with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) team working out of Selkirk's Andrew Lang Unit.

Specialist psychiatrists, psychologists, paediatricians and psychotherapists work alongside nurses, occupational therapists and speech therapists to offer help for young people suffering from conditions such as anxiety, attention disorders, autism, eating disorders and learning difficulties.

During 2017 there were 846 missed appointments - at an estimated cost of well over £100 per appointment.

Although the figure is slightly down on 2016's 970 no shows, it is up on the previous year's figure of 785.

Borders MSP Michelle Ballantyne highlighted the problem this week in Holyrood during ministers questions.

She said: "I want to ask the Scottish Government what its response is to reports that, in the last 12 months, 846 appointments at the NHS Borders' child and adolescent mental health services unit were recorded as 'did not attend', and what action it is taking to promote the importance of attending."

Although the numbers of missed CAMHS appointments in the Scottish Borders remains high, attendance rates are still at around 90 percent.

And NHS Borders has been working on new strategies to improve the figures.

Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey highlighted the ongoing work.

She said: "We are aware that NHS Borders is putting in place new arrangements to ensure that appointments are confirmed, and for new patients and clients SMS text reminders are being sent out.

"Our 2018 Programme for Government has mental health at its very heart.

"It contains a package of measures to support positive mental health and prevent mental ill health, and is backed by £250 million of additional investment.

"There is a clear focus on children and young people’s mental health, and particularly on preventative approaches and early intervention. "We want our young people to get the right help at the right time.

"We expect Boards and their partners to be working with parents, guardians and other responsible adults to ensure that children and young people are able to access services, and reducing DNA is part of this work."