Here is a letter just sent in an Email to Dr Richard Simpson MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, in response to his performance yesterday at the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill Stage One debate in Scottish Parliament, at which I was a spectator in the public gallery:
Strapline: Mental Health (Scotland) Bill debate – disappointing performance – lack of insight and capacity – remember the victims of psychiatric abuse
“Dear Dr Simpson
I am writing to let you know that I was disappointed with your performance yesterday at the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill Debate, Stage One, in Scottish Parliament, where I was a spectator in the public gallery.
You are an MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, where I have lived for 25 years. You are also a GP and psychiatrist by profession, and therefore should be aware of the situation in Stratheden psychiatric Hospital where they have been using a locked seclusion room for generations, to “manage” patients. This has resulted in vulnerable people being locked in for hours at a time, no toilet or drinking water, light switch outside, in the dark, through the night.
I did not hear you speak out at the debate about the unreasonable treatment of psychiatric patients in Stratheden Hospital. You said nothing about the mental health act safeguards not being implemented properly or monitored effectively. Although I did hear other MSPs mention this in a general sense and by implication.
My youngest son was locked overnight in the Stratheden IPCU seclusion room for hours on end, unobserved, broken hand untreated, in February 2012. Prior to this he had been assaulted by a staff nurse in the Lomond Ward and face-down restrained. He has had 3 collapsed lungs and is asthmatic. His life was at risk.
My son was forced to defecate in the IPCU cell when no staff appeared to let him out for the toilet through the night, and then was forcibly injected with 25mgs Haloperidol until he would “voluntarily” swallow the drug. Sub-human treatment. The RMO Dr Bill Dickson, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, told me that people without capacity don’t require advocacy. I set the doctor straight about this, that advocacy is a safeguard and a right for all, and then advocated for my son whenever he asked me to, representing my son’s views at clinical meetings in the ward.
I heard you speak twice yesterday about mental patients assaulting staff, victims of homicides. What about the people who have killed themselves after psychiatric inpatient treatment at Stratheden Hospital? Escaped from the hospital and thrown themselves on to the railway tracks at Springfield or into the sea at St Andrews, to be washed up on an English beach? I did not hear you mention these victims or their families.
You may be in a tricky situation as both a psychiatrist and government minister at mental health debates. Whatever. I thought that your performance yesterday lacked insight and capacity, in understanding the perspective of a person who has been subject to forced drug treatment and psychiatric abuse.
I hope that you might consider my critical feedback and that this may impact positively on your future practice.
I am copying others into this Email and will put the letter into a blog post, in the interests of transparency,
Chrys Muirhead (Mrs)”