Relatives of suicide victim turned away criticise SNP leadership

Gillian Murray and David Ramsay Snr, niece and father of David Ramsay who committed suicide in Dundee
Gillian Murray and David Ramsay Snr, niece and father of David Ramsay who committed suicide in Dundee

The family of an SNP member who took his own life have accused Nicola Sturgeon of ignoring their pleas for a public inquiry into NHS Tayside mental health services.

Relatives of David Ramsay said they had been treated “like absolute dirt” by the Scottish Government and added their voice to calls for Health Secretary Shona Robison to quit.

David Ramsay, Dundee man with a history of mental illness who took his own life.

David Ramsay, Dundee man with a history of mental illness who took his own life.

Mr Ramsay’s family are seeking answers after the 50-year-old was turned away for treatment twice by the Carseview psychiatric unit at Ninewells, despite making three suicide attempts.

Mr Ramsay’s father David sr and his niece Gillian Murray were at Holyrood to see Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard tackle Ms Sturgeon on the issue af First Minister’s Questions.

Afterwards Ms Murray revealed she had left the SNP as a result of the party’s failure to help with her uncle’s case.

At Holyrood, Mr Leonard highlighted that Scotland’s suicide rate is more than twice as high as the rate for Britain as a whole while in Dundee suicide rates have increased by 61 per cent in a year.

He said: “Tragically, David’s story and the experience of his family is not unique in Dundee.

“So, when I was in Dundee in March I backed the call by families for a public inquiry into mental health services at NHS Tayside.

“First Minister, why has your government remained silent on this crisis and silent on this demand for a public inquiry?”

He said Mr Ramsay’s father David and niece Gillian Murray had come to Edinburgh “because this government has ignored them”.

He added: “This is yet another family failed by your government.”

Ms Sturgeon offered her “deep condolences” to the Ramsay family and said the Scottish Government had been in contact with them.

The First Minister said she expected NHS Tayside to respond to an inspection carried out by the Mental Welfare Commission on the Carseview Centre.

She claimed it was “simply not the case” that no action was being taken, adding that the government’s suicide prevention strategy would ensure that the best facilities were in place for those who need help.

On the individual case, she said it would be up to the law officers to order a fatal accident inquiry.

But Ms Murray compared her family’s treatment with the case of Margaret Goodman, the terminally ill cancer patient whose plight was raised at last week’s First Minister’s Questions. Ms Sturgeon had offered to meet Ms Goodman after it emerged she endured an ambulance wait of at least two hours.

Ms Murray said Ms Sturgeon should have offered to see her grandfather and father of the victim David Ramsay sr.

“My granddad yet again at the age of 80 has been treated like absolute dirt,” Ms Murray said. “She didn’t want to meet my granddad.”

She also said their local SNP MSP Joe Fitzpatrick had ignored them when they encountered each other in parliament and when they had raised the case previously.

Asked if she thought Ms Robison should resign, Ms Murray said: “I think she has to. There is no doubt about that. She knew about the corporate governance scandal at NHS Tayside for many years. I don’t think it is any coincidence that the mismanagement of funds and patient care in NHS Tayside is deteriorating.”