Cole-Hamilton: Report reveals “catastrophic” mental health failures in NHS Tayside

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today said that mental health services at NHS Tayside have “catastrophically” failed patients and their families, after an independent inquiry at the health board revealed frequent use of restraint, patient concerns not being taken seriously until they tried to take their own lives and delayed decision-making.

The 22-page interim report comes after relatives of suicide victims campaigned for an independent inquiry into why their relatives had been refused support before they took their own lives. 

The report notes that

  • the use of restraint within inpatient facilities was of “great concern” to patients, with some staff “reportedly aggressive both verbally and physically”
  • Both patients and families report seeing drugs delivered, sold and taken within the Carseview Centre site as staff seemed unable to control the availability and use of illegal drugs on the wards
  • Centralisation of the out-of-hours Crisis team to Carseview Centre had a “detrimental effect on those patients in Angus and Perth & Kinross who are experiencing mental health crisis”
  • Patients told staff that they were suicidal but the risk was not taken seriously enough until they made a serious attempt to take their own life.
  • Frequent senior staff turnover results in inconsistent and delayed decision-making

Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:

“Mental health services at NHS Tayside have catastrophically failed patients and their families.

“It took persistent campaigning from Gillian Murray and others for the Government to take this issue seriously.

“This inquiry can never bring loved ones to their families but what it must do is spur significant change in the manner in which mental health patients and their families are treated.

“We need a system that treats people with dignity and respect, supporting them in getting the treatment they need, not pushing them away until it is too late.”

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