About Chrys Muirhead

writer, activist, campaigner

A one-man peaceful protest outside the Scottish Parliament

Hole Ousia

Today, I have sent the following letter to the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland:

Monday 19th March 2018

Dear Dr Calderwood,
A Sunshine Act for Scotland
I wanted to let you know that I am going to make a one-man, peaceful protest outside the Scottish Parliament this Thursday the 22nd March 2018.

The 22nd March 2018 will mark two years to the day since my petition for a Sunshine Act was closed. The petition closed on a most positive finding: that the Scottish public, in an official consultation (by the Scottish Health Council) concluded that declarations of competing interests should be mandatory and recorded centrally in an open register.

The Scottish Parliament Petitions Committee approached my petition with great care, thoroughness and thoughtfulness and I want to put on record my appreciation of this. I have also had some wonderful support from Scottish parliamentarians, both current and retired, and…

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A Sunshine Act for Scotland

Hole Ousia

On Thursday 22 March 2018 I will be making a peaceful protest outside the Scottish Parliament, two years to the day that my petition for a Sunshine Act for Scotland was closed.

But what is a "Sunshine Act"? And what is the story behind it?

In September 2013 I submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament urging the Scottish Government to introduce a Sunshine Act for Scotland.

I have worked as a doctor for NHS Scotland for over 25 years and it was his concern that marketing by commercial sector (pharmaceutical industry, device makers, imaging technologies) was routinely part of continuing medical education. Research has conclusively demonstrated that competing financial “conflict of interest” can affect the treatment decisions doctors recommend and that exposure to industry promotional activity can lead to doctors recommending worse treatments for patients.

In the early stages of the petition, when evidence was being gathered, the…

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Clinical Governance of NHS Scotland

Hole Ousia

This roundtable session included the following:

Having watched this roundtable session on Clinical Governance of NHS Scotland I sent the following submission. It has been published Wednesday on the Scottish Parliament website:

29 November 2017

Dear Health and Sport Committee,
Roundtable session on clinical governance in NHS Scotland (28 November 2017)

I watched this roundtable session after work on parliament tv:

I thought that there were many excellent contributions and I commend the committee for facilitating such breadth of consideration.

I am aware of how much material you have to consider so I will keep these personal observations brief. I have three areas of thought but realise my voice is just a tiny part of the more important wider community. I write as I am a doctor who has worked in NHS Scotland for 25 years and who has championed ethical considerations.

1. I thought that the contributions from the Scottish…

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What use are Human Rights If you cannot exercise them?


Fpexels-photo-208494.jpegFrom birth, my life has been inextricably linked with human rights issues/abuses.  But what I have come to realise is What use are rights if you cannot exercise them?

I come from a background of abuse, torture, and despair.  I was born after a sham marriage of convenience, abandoned by my mother to be brought up my ageing grandparents.  I experienced sexual abuse from being five years old right through to my teens.  I didn’t go to school, I was kept away from other children and subject to racist abuse, psychological torture and neglect.  I put on weight to stop the abuse from happening to make me less of a target.  I didn’t wash. I had never played as a child and had no social skills.  I was unable to interact. I was an empty shell of a human being.  A non-person. Yet it didn’t stop.   Eventually I was…

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Psychiatry, dependent on its authority, is finding withdrawal seriously difficult

Hole Ousia

In the week that has followed the publication and media reports of this Lancet paper, I have noticed how Psychiatry (my profession) has seemed to be struggling with any threat that its authority might be weakened.

I am not part of the social media community, though some years ago I was. I left social media because it seemed to me to struggle to deal with complex matters. Too often debates centred around the poles to the detriment of the middle ground. I have observed this effect with the current debate on antidepressants following the publication of the above Lancet meta-analysis.

I have previously outlined my interpretation of what this publication can or cannot say. I was disappointed that the authors and the experts giving opinions made little effort to clarify that this study is based on short-term, 8 weeks studies for severe depression (not mild or moderate) and that…

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“Our voice”: is it actually ours?

Hole Ousia

Healthcare Improvement Scotland has completed its consultation on the role of the Scottish Health Council. This followed on from careful scrutiny by the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Health Council is described as a “key part” of Healthcare Improvement Scotland and that it “plays a leading role in ensuring that NHS Scotland listens to the views of people and communities, and that it acts on those views.”

One of the central initiatives of the Scottish Health Council is known as “Our Voice”.

It is described thus:

“Our Voice is based on a vision where people who use health and social care services, carers and members of the public are enabled to engage purposefully with health and social care providers to continuously improve and transform services. People will be provided with feedback on the impact of their engagement, or a demonstration of how their views have been considered.”

The consultation

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For some, candour need not be a “duty”

Hole Ousia

On the 1st April 2018 Duty of Candour Regulations will come into force in Scotland:

The Scottish Press has reported this. Here is one such headline:

However this headline is not correct.

I have finally had a question about Duty of Candour answered by the Scottish Government’s “Openness and Learning Team”

Certain professional groups, who are involved in shaping health and social care,  are exempt from the duty of candour regulations:

  • all Healthcare Improvement Scotland staff
  • all Scottish civil servants (such as the Department of Health)


  • the Scottish Government.

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