At the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill Debate, Stage One, in Scottish Parliament, on 12 March 2015, the Labour spokesperson for mental health, Dr Richard Simpson MSP and psychiatrist, mentioned 3 times about the serious assaults and even homicides by persons suffering from “mental illness” or “mental disorder”.
Yet I didn’t hear Dr Simpson once mention the psychiatric abuse that has gone on at Stratheden Hospital in Fife, an area where he is a regional MSP and where he has a share in holiday home, valued at £300,000. (see the doctor’s Register of Interests)
[see Express article about my son’s treatment in Stratheden Hospital, February 2012: HOSPITAL HORRORS: Patient locked in cell with no toilet, food or water]
Here is the transcript from 12 March 2015 of Dr Richard Simpson’s words and a video link to the parliamentary debate:
“In my summing up, I am also going to refer to the victims section, which I believe is excellent, but I believe it fails in one major regard, and that is the investigation and reporting on homicides and serious assaults perpetrated by persons suffering from mental illness. That is not included in this Bill at all, and there is a considerable disparity between a fragmented dysfunctional system in Scotland and the much better system that is occurring in England. I will return to that in my summing up speech.”
“I’ve been in discussion with a number of parties after the evidence we heard from John Crichton and others about possible amendments covering the investigation and reporting of homicides and serious assault perpetrated by a person suffering from a mental disorder. I appreciate that the UK confidential inquiry into homicides and suicides is of some help and is very relevant but the intention of the amendments which I will bring forward, at least for discussion, are to put in primary legislation clarity, consistency, and accountability in relation to homicides and serious assault including attempted murder involving someone with a mental illness already known to the services, because at present this is a highly fragmented system. Currently out of 137 homicides committed by those with mental illness in the last 10 years only 2 have been subject to a published report by the Mental Welfare Commission and based on a FOIA inquiry by Julian Hendy of the Hundred Families charity few of these instances appear to have been subject to adverse incident reviews by boards. Now this should be compared to England where out of 576 homicides there have been 321 reviews and it’s suggested that as many as 25% or even 35% of homicides might have been prevented by different actions. So I think it’s an area that we need to address and I will return to it in the Bill.” (bolding is mine)
Here is a letter I sent to Dr Simpson in an Email on 14 March 2015 about this topic and because we had engaged via Twitter about it:
“Dear Dr Simpson
You said to me in a tweet at around 11.30pm on Thursday 12 March 2015:
@ChrysMuirhead I didn’t once mention patients assaulting staff I did talk about homicides. I called X2 for wider review. What party Line?
— Dr Richard Simpson (@RSimpsonMSP) March 12, 2015
[my response the next morning:
@RSimpsonMSP What is homicide if it isn’t assault? Stratheden Hospital (Fife) where nurses have been struck off for assaulting patients.
— Chrys Muirhead (@ChrysMuirhead) March 13, 2015
In fact you mentioned serious assaults by persons suffering mental mental illness/disorder 3 times. You are correct in saying it wasn’t “patients”. I suppose that my thoughts were with my family. We have been subject to assault and forced drug treatment by psychiatric staff, in every decade since the 1950’s. Most recently in Stratheden Hospital, Fife, an area that you are MSP over and have a holiday home in, but have never done anything to advocate for me and my family, or to advocate for more humane treatment of mental patients.
What about all the lives shortened by psychiatric drug treatment, the physical disabilities and long term chronicity caused by the diagnosis/label of “severe and enduring mental illness”? Why are you not equally concerned about the major issues in psychiatric forced drug treatment? About the covert drugging of elderly people and the mental health safeguards not being safe?
I contend that you are not a suitable advocate for the rights of people with mental illness because you see the label and not the person. Your “profession” unfortunately diminishes your capacity to imagine yourself in their shoes or my shoes. It is a deficit, regardless of all your qualifications and “work experience.”
This lack of balanced debate from the lived mental health experience perspective, and stigmatising of people with mental illness, has caused me to consider standing as an Independent candidate at the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May 2016. Therefore I will mount a campaign of action and construct a manifesto towards that end.