I had sent a letter by Email to Colin McKay, CEO of Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, on 4 February 2015 (see copy below), after reading a Daily Mail article about an English health trust which had been rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission watchdog, for using face-down restraint and seclusion with no toilet. Just like in Stratheden Hospital.
But I got no response from Mr McKay. Rather he passed the buck and the responsibility to an underling. I received the Nursing Officer letter on 16 February 2015. It was both disappointing and disheartening to be fobbed off in this way and I sat the letter and my annoyance to the side, for a while, until I had cooled down.
I thought it very disrespectful of the Chief Executive Officer not to respond to me personally. You might describe it like a slap in the face. And so I have turned the other cheek. I prefer to respond reasonably in the face of disrespect and a refusal by the Mental Welfare Commission to accept any responsibility or liability, in respect of their failure to protect vulnerable people in psychiatric settings at risk of abuse.
I recommend that Mr McKay and his watchdog team take a leaf out of their English counterparts’ book. Get some teeth. Do the job right. Protect the patients and their carers. We shouldn’t have to be the ones uncovering abuse. Whistleblowing. The MWC are funded to the tune of £4million plus a year. Scotland deserves better value for the money spent.
Daily Mail article headlines, 4 February 2015:
I asked Colin McKay a number of questions regarding the failures in Stratheden Hospital, to do with my son’s unreasonable and dehumanising treatment, for example:
“Why was it left up to a mother and her son to expose the human rights abuses in Stratheden? It took me over 30 months to win my complaint against NHS Fife, in respect of “unreasonable treatment”, with the Ombudsman. I had to campaign while at the same time supporting my son, singlehandedly, after his dehumanising, traumatic treatment in the Stratheden IPCU. Getting excluded from Scottish Patient Safety events and badmouthed by Scottish Government highly paid senior civil servants.”
However I did not receive a reply from Colin McKay. Rather he deputised his “co-ordinator for NHS Fife at the Commission” to respond:
Letter from Nursing Officer at MWC, dated 16 February 2015:
Blog post with letter to CEO of Mental Welfare Commission, 4 February 2015:
Earlier today I saw this article in a tweet by a fellow psychiatric survivor:
‘Health trust shamed for dangerously restraining its patients: Body faces being put in special measures after using technique that can be fatal’ Daily Mail today 4 February 2015:
I immediately wrote a letter by Email to Colin McKay, CEO of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland:
I have just been reading about the work of the Care Quality Commission in this article, today, where it has exposed the failings in an English health trust.
“A mental health trust where patients have been punished with a dangerous form of restraint faces being put into special measures.
Inspectors found serious problems at the body that oversees mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk.
These included patients being held in the face-down prone position and being put in seclusion as a punishment.
The prone position involves two or more staff holding a patient face-down on the floor and pinning down their arms, legs and torso. It can result in compression of the chest and airways and can be fatal.”
I am wondering why the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland did not manage to expose the failings at Stratheden Hospital, Fife, where my son was subject to face-down restraint and locked in a seclusion room for hours at a time, no toilet or water to drink, light switch outside. He has asthma and has experienced 3 collapsed lungs when younger. The treatment of NHS Fife staff was very risky for my son.
Why was it left up to a mother and her son to expose the human rights abuses in Stratheden? It took me over 30 months to win my complaint against NHS Fife, in respect of “unreasonable treatment”, with the Ombudsman. I had to campaign while at the same time supporting my son, singlehandedly, after his dehumanising, traumatic treatment in the Stratheden IPCU. Getting excluded from Scottish Patient Safety events and badmouthed by Scottish Government highly paid senior civil servants.
Stratheden Hospital was the scene of a death by restraint, of patient Shaun Martin in 1994:
hy therefore was the MWC not keeping a close eye on what was going on inside the wards of Stratheden Hospital? Bearing in mind the known culture. Why was the seclusion room still being used in 2012 and even in September 2014, according to a mother whose son was an inpatient and who works in her day job for the Joint Improvement Team, a Scottish Government department?
Near the end of this Daily Mail article it says: “In a statement, the trust said it accepted the findings and ‘vowed to put patients and staff first’ under a management team which had seen ‘extensive changes’”. Whereas all I got was a grudging one sentence apology from NHS Fife and no inclusion in any improvement meetings going on where I live.
I am copying in to this Email my MSP Roderick Campbell and various others who work in government and in NHS Fife. Plus the Healthcare Improvement Scotland senior managers who have excluded me from key events, ever since my son and I spoke out about the sub-standard care in Stratheden Hospital and the sub-human treatment of psychiatric patients:
I am looking for a response from you, to my questions and comments, and will be posting this Email in a blog post, and any reply. I know there is to be a new build IPCU at Stratheden but I am still concerned about the culture in the wards, the morale of staff and the safety of patients, and of their carers. That customers of the service will be free to speak out about any issues or bad practice without being at risk of retaliation or, for carers, slandering of reputation and character. I know what that’s like. Unfortunately.
Chrys Muirhead (Mrs)”