NHS bosses ‘should hang their heads in shame’ over Dundee suicide

Dale Thomson had been discharged from the in-patient Carseview Centre mental health unit, in Dundee
Dale Thomson had been discharged from the in-patient Carseview Centre mental health unit, in Dundee
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The mother of a mental health patient who killed himself said NHS bosses should “hang their heads in shame” over the services they provide.

Dale Thomson, 28, had just been discharged from the in-patient Carseview Centre mental health unit, in Dundee, in 2015.

At a heated public meeting in Dundee, his mother, Amanda McLaren, challenged NHS Tayside chairman Professor John Connell.

A fatal accident inquiry into Mr Thomson’s death was adjourned last week and will resume in September.

The health board has just concluded a public consultation on its proposals to close the Mulberry Unit at Stracathro Hospital and centralise in-patient services at Carseview.

Staff would also be transferred from the Mulberry Unit to Dundee to ensure it could cope with the extra workload.

But Ms McLaren said NHS Tayside managers should “hang their heads in shame” over mental health services.

Speaking at NHS Tayside Annual Review, held in St Paul’s Academy, she said: “Mental health in Tayside is a disgrace. Have you been to Carseview and seen what goes on? You should hang your heads in shame.”

She said children and young people have to wait too long for help.

Challenging Mr Connell directly she said: “I would like to know what you would do if your child was sitting there crying or hurting itself?

“Do you think being seen in 18 weeks is good?”

Professor Connell said he regularly visited Carseview and added 94 per cent of patients with mental health problems do not require in-patient care but there were issues “in relation to how NHS Tayside manages three in-patient sites.”

Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison, who chaired the meeting, said it is important more psychiatric services are delivered in the community through primary care.

She said: “There will always be people who become unwell and need in-patient care... but for those who don’t what is important is ongoing support.

“There needs to be a shift of resources to develop these services, particularly in Angus. People need to see progress and these services being developed.”

Professor Connell also discussed the financial challenges facing NHS Tayside.

He said the health board had made savings by reducing its reliance on agency nurses and cutting the amount of drugs being prescribed.