exchanging Emails with Derek Feeley IHI (formerly NHS Scotland head), a Fifer born and bred

On Sunday I had forwarded the Email I sent to my MSP, Roderick Campbell, to Derek Feeley, Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (formerly Chief Executive of NHS Scotland until 2013) and to his colleagues at IHI:

On Mr Feeley’s IHI bio it says he has “executive-level responsibility for driving IHI’s strategy across five core focus areas: Improvement Capability; Person- and Family-Centered Care; Patient Safety; Quality, Cost, and Value; and Triple Aim for Populations. His role is international in scope, guiding work to deliver on IHI’s mission to improve health and health care around the world.

No pressure there then.  I just want to see psychiatric services improve in Fife where I live and where Mr Feeley was born and bred, and lived before going off to the US of A.

Here is the Email sent to my MSP:

Yesterday I received a response from Mr Feeley:

“Dear Chrys,

Thank you for copying your email to me and to some of my colleagues here. I just wanted to offer three pieces of clarification to you:

  1. I have never worked in NHS Fife. I was born and brought up in Fife and I lived there before I left for the USA.
  2. IHI does have a contract to work with the NHS in Scotland. This was awarded after an open competition. I was not involved in the decision to award the contract.
  3. I did not receive any payment when I left my role with the Scottish Government and NHSScotland.

I hope that this is helpful.



To which I responded, with passion and, I have to admit it, great irritation and annoyance on hearing that Derek Feeley is a Fifer and has lived in Fife yet did not manage to shift the abusive culture in Stratheden Hospital, despite heading up NHS Scotland and having the ear of the First Minister (2002-4) and others in government.

I’m from Perth and not a Fifer, yet I’ve lived in Fife since 1990.  The fact I’ve had to take a stand against the abuse, and that my family have had to suffer for it, really gets my goat. Plus the bucketloads of money that seems to be changing hands across the ocean while I am having to manage on £61/week as an unpaid carer (Grrr… gritting my teeth):

Strapline: Stratheden Hospital, Fife – locked seclusion room, no toilet, water, light switch outside – human rights abuse 2012 – Mad in America blogger – Tidal Model of recovery

“Dear Mr Feeley

Thank you for responding.

I am interested to hear that you were born and brought up in Fife, and lived here before going to the US.  I do wonder why then, having such an understanding of Fife, working as Chief Executive of NHS Scotland until 2013, how you could be so unaware and ignorant of the culture in Stratheden psychiatric Hospital, Cupar, Fife, where they have been using a locked seclusion room with no toilet or drinking water, light switch outside, for over 30 years and more?  I know of one man from Glenrothes who in 1981, aged 16, was locked in this same seclusion room for over 12 hours at a time, physically assaulted and then sexually groomed by a male nurse.

A Fifer and living in Fife, with a lifetime’s working experience of NHS, and yet you didn’t know what was happening behind the locked doors of the main psychiatric hospital in Fife.  I am astonished and astounded.  I have lived in Fife since 1990 and my experience of Stratheden’s Lomond Ward from 1995 onwards alerted me to the issues in the hospital, having been an inpatient myself in 2002 briefly.  Not least the fact of nurses being sacked for assaulting patients and there being the most “Left Behind” patients, according to the Mental Welfare Commission report of that name, in 2011.

My youngest son became an inpatient of the Stratheden IPCU for the first time on 1 February 2012 and it only took me a few days to realise that something was very seriously wrong with the nursing practice and with the treatment of patients in the ward.  Locking my son up for hours at a time in the seclusion room, broken hand untreated, no toilet or water to drink, whereby he had to defecate on the floor.  Because no-one came to rescue him my son staged a dirty protest and for this he was held face down in his own urine and faeces, resulting in a glandular inflection and a number of veruccas on his feet, requiring months of podiatry treatment after discharge.

I took my complaint against NHS Fife to the Ombudsman and my complaint was upheld in September 2014, “unreasonable treatment”, which was in fact human rights abuse, worse treatment than what prisoners get in Scotland.  Who at least get a toilet in their cell.

In case you were unaware, here is my blog on Stratheden Hospital which details parts of my campaign:

I also have other blogs, some of which are below on my signature, and write for Mad in America as a “foreign correspondent”:

The Mad in America website is run by Robert Whitaker, author of his book of the same name and Anatomy of an Epidemic, published in 2010.  I believe Bob Whitaker lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where IHI is based so you may know him already.  He was an investigative reporter with the Boston Globe in his earlier days and is an author of other books also.  I invited Bob to Cupar, Fife, in November 2011, to give a lecture on his Anatomy book, he stayed in St Andrews, Fife, for two nights.  Here is the film of his talk, for your interest, as I don’t think you were there:

Prof Phil Barker and his wife Poppy Buchanan-Barker, Fifers like yourself, introduced the lecture and gave a closing speech.  Phil and Poppy are architects of the Tidal Model of Recovery, a nursing practice model.  I believe that NHS Fife nurses have been trained in Tidal but don’t practise it.

I hope that you find this information helpful.

I will return to the second and third points in your Email, if I may, at a later date,

Yours sincerely,

Chrys Muirhead (Mrs)”

To be continued ….



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