Patients’ concerns highlighted in NHS Tayside mental health inquiry report

Patients’ concerns highlighted in NHS Tayside mental health inquiry report

Illegal drugs on wards and concerns over patient restraint have been highlighted in a report into NHS Tayside’s mental health services.

The independent inquiry’s interim report has identified “key themes for further investigation” after hearing evidence from more than 1,300 people.

It said some patients were frightened of certain staff members.

NHS Tayside said improvements had been made in key areas highlighted in the interim report.

The inquiry is reviewing safety, care standards and access to mental health services.

An investigation was initially ordered into Dundee’s Carseview Centre but was expanded following a campaign by families of people who took their own lives.

More than 200 written submissions were received by the inquiry team following its call for evidence, and more than 70 oral evidence sessions were held.

It said the key themes were patient access to mental health services, patient sense of safety, quality of care, organisational learning, leadership and governance.

Referring to risk management, the report said: “Patients report telling staff they were suicidal but the risk was not taken seriously until they made a serious attempt to take their own life.”

‘Violated and traumatised’

In relation to patient safety, the report noted: “Some patients report being frightened of certain staff on the wards who have a poor attitude to the patients in their care.

“Others mentioned that another patient had assaulted them whilst they were on the ward.”

The report said the use of restraint within inpatient facilities was of “great concern” to patients, who had experienced it or witnessed it taking place.

It said: “Patients feel violated and traumatised, particularly if they have personally suffered violent abuse in the past.”

People talking

It added that staff seemed unable to control the availability and use of illegal drugs on the wards in the inpatient facilities.

“Both patients and families report seeing drugs delivered, sold and taken within the Carseview Centre site,” the report said.

“Staff confirm this is a serious issue which is not being adequately addressed.

“There is a lack of support from management for frontline staff attempting to address this issue and it is having a detrimental effect on patient care and treatment regimes”.

‘Unexpected and concerning’

In a section on the Crisis Service, the report said that the Crisis team “struggles to respond to sudden surges in demand on the service.”

It said: “There are occasions when the length of time to wait to be seen is long and families supporting someone in crisis are advised to phone the police or NHS24, if they are worried.

“This advice is unexpected and concerning to carers coping with a crisis in a domestic situation.”

The report said the centralisation of the out-of-hours Crisis team to Carseview Centre has had a “detrimental effect on those patients in Angus and Perth & Kinross who are experiencing mental health crisis”.

It said: “There is a perception that whilst the Crisis service has expanded in recent months, the situation has worsened in terms of patients being assessed then not being offered any crisis intervention, or referred back to the GP.”

Inquiry chairman David Strang said: “The themes which have been identified will shape the next stage of the inquiry.

“Our final report will include conclusions and recommendations which will lead to the improvement of mental health services in Tayside.”

‘Top priority’

NHS Tayside chief executive Grant Archibald said: “We are taking on board all comments in the interim report, alongside the feedback we received from the Health and Social Care Alliance (the Alliance) published in their report in December 2018.

“The key themes which have been identified in both the Alliance report and in today’s interim report are recognised by the board and the mental health leadership team – and we are taking action on these.

“I also recognise and want to thank the many staff who are already working really hard to improve services and look forward to their continued support.

“It is clear that we have further work to do but since I came to Tayside, I have made mental health a top priority and I am confident we can learn lessons, strengthen our engagement with patients, service users, families and the public and make the right kinds of changes, at the right time, to transform our mental health services.”

He added: “We would like to thank everyone who has shared their experiences so far and we look forward to the independent inquiry’s final report and recommendations which will be a major influence on the future shape of mental health services in Tayside.”

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Nursing student’s story about her mental health battle inspires thousands

Nursing student’s story about her mental health battle inspires thousands

Essex-born student Chloe Sheridan, who studies in Dundee, shared her emotional tweet charting her mental health battle

Chloe Sheridan, who studies in Dundee, shared an emotional tweet charting her personal journey 

A nursing student has revealed how she went from having suicidal thoughts to training to become a mental health nurse in an inspiring post.

Chloe Sheridan was admitted into a psychiatric ward for the first time three years ago, she said in a tweet which has gone viral.

The Essex-born student said she felt lost, hopeless and consumed by the idea of ending her life at that time, reports the Daily Record.

But the tweet ended with the revelation that she was now returning to a psychiatric ward – this time as a student mental health nurse.

Chloe said she was admitted to a psychiatric ward when she had suicidal thoughts

She also shared two photos – the first showed her looking downcast and teary-eyed in a grey hoodie as she prepared to go into hospital as a psychiatric patient.

The second pic showed her beaming and looking professional in her grey nurses scrubs.

She posted: “Three years ago today I was taken into a psychiatric ward for the 1st time.

“I was lost, hopeless, consumed by the idea of ending my life.

“Today I walk into a psychiatric ward as a student mental health nurse for my first day of placement.

“Things change, they don’t stay hard forever.”

But now Chloe is ready to become a psychiatric nurse

And Chloe’s life-affirming tweet quickly racked up support and likes as her story went viral across the platform.

Her tweet has garnered up almost 20,000 retweets and over 130,000 likes since it was posted.

Thousands more replied with messages thanking Chloe for her honesty.

One wrote: “From someone who struggles daily with Mental Health issues and needs the help/support MH workers provide, a massive thank you for your decision to work with others who need that help.

“You will be an asset to all you work with and I wish you all the best.”

The post has been retweeted more than 20,000 times 

Another said: “This is amazing!! Best tweet I’ve seen for ages. So glad you managed to get through it and your first hand experience and understanding will be invaluable. Best of luck in your career – I’m sure you’ll be fantastic!!”One posted: “Literally in the same position as you. 4 years ago I was in hospital for taking an overdose and seeing no way out of my hell of a life. I’m now a student mental health nurse and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”

And another added: “I feel this. I was in and out of hospitals with mental health issues and struggled for a long time. This is brilliant! well done!! 4 years ago I was in sectioned in hospital and this year, 5 years later I will qualify as a mental health nurse! I can’t speak for anyone else, but using my experience and illness to do this truly gave me my spark back.”



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Calls for 24/7 drop-in service to help Dundonians tackling mental health issues

Calls for 24/7 drop-in service to help Dundonians tackling mental health issues



link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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Petition calls for mental health crisis centre in Dundee


Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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Police left to ‘pick up the pieces’ on mental health care

Arfon Jones, the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner. has made a plea over mental health care
Arfon Jones, the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner. has made a plea over mental health care 




Stop treating police officers as mental health workers and build 24-hour “sanctuaries” for people in need of treatment.

That was the call made by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones at a meeting of Conwy Council on Thursday night.

Police officers were having to act like health care staff on too many occasions because of a lack of 24 hour emergency mental health facilities in the region, Mr Jones said.

“What I want to see is for sanctuaries to be provided because at the moment the only place people suffering with mental health problems can be taken is to hospitals.

“We need crisis centres so they are not having to be brought into police stations,” he added.

He added: “North Wales has three mental health units in Bangor, Bodelwyddan and Wrexham. Community services do not operate outside of office hours; there are no triage facilities or sanctuaries available.”

Numbers produced by the force showed that 13% of police call-outs were related to mental health.

With North Wales Police dealing with 123,381 incidents during 2016/17 this would mean there were 16,040 mental health related incidents in the region in a year.

“Dealing with increased mental health demand has been identified by officers in North Wales Police as the greatest external demand placed upon them and the large numbers of incidents allied to limited available health related options to help deal with them effectively is the single biggest source of frustration for them,” he said.

Mr Jones told a meeting of the council’s economy and place scrutiny committee of two examples where police resources were used to care for people suffering from mental health illnesses.

In one a social worker visited a teenager who was withdrawing from drugs and threatening to self harm.

Police officers detained him and took him to Wrexham’s mental health unit to be told they needed to go to Bodelwyddan only to be turned around and sent back to Wrexham, making a 77 mile journey with a child in a police car.

In another officers had to make a 128 mile journey as they travelled from Bodelwyddan to Bangor to Caernarfon and then to Wrexham in search of a suitable unit for a man who had tried to self-harm.

He added: “There is only so long that North Wales Police can continue to pick up the pieces for other partners.”

Lesley Singleton, director of partnerships for mental health and learning disabilities at the health board said: “We have made improving the support available to people in an acute mental health crisis our first year priority as we begin implementing our integrated mental health strategy Together for Mental Health in North Wales.

“To support this we are working with our partners to develop local alternatives to hospital admission and these include crisis cafes, sanctuaries, and step down services.”


Link to North Wales Pioneer article here 

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Heartbroken Dundee dad calls for answers over son’s suicide at age of 32

Ian Robertson with a picture of his son.

A heartbroken Dundee dad who lies in the bed where he found his son dead “to feel his presence” has spoken of his search for answers about why he took his own life.

Ross Robertson was found dead by his dad Ian at their Americanmuir Road home in November last year. He was just 32 years old.

Speaking for the first time since his son’s death, dad Ian said he still lies in the bed where he found Ross’s body “just to get a feel of him being there”.

Ross had descended into depression after breaking up with his partner and had moved into his dad’s house because he “needed space”.

Ian, who lives apart from his wife, moved back in with her but days later his “world shattered” when he found his son’s body.

He said: “I hadn’t heard from Ross for a while. I tried to phone him but it went straight to the answer machine.

“I decided I would just go up and see him to see how he was getting on.

“The lights were on and the TV was on. I thought that Ross had maybe gone for a sleep.

“I went into the bedroom and turned the light on — that’s when I saw him.

Ian Robertson is seeking answers about why his son Ross took his own life.

“He had hanged himself from the bed frame. I tried to get him down and give him CPR.

“I tried so hard to save him but he was gone. I suppose I always knew that he was.”

Ian told of Ross’s struggle before his death.

He said: “Ross was pretty quiet in his early years. He always wanted to be a joiner.

“He started out working at JTC, then he went back to college and went on to be a kitchen fitter.

“He started his own business and employed a few guys. He was doing really well.

“But then he split up with his partner and he started drinking with guys who worked with him and ended up moving back in with his mum.

“He was drinking more and more. He said he wasn’t right and needed some space.

“I had been telling him that for long enough and I said he was better off going into Carseview.”

Ian said staff at the centre had been reluctant to admit Ross but he convinced them that his son was “in a bad place”.

Ross spent two weeks in Carseview but left — with Ian saying that he knew that his mental state had not improved — to be supported by the health board’s crisis team.

However, Ross fell deeper into depression and three attempts to take his own life were foiled by his dad, his brother and the police respectively.

Ian is now set to pursue the health board for answers about why his son was not kept in hospital longer.

He said: “This was all a cry for help. I honestly believe that, if he had been sectioned, then they could have got to the root of the problem.”

Ian is now taking legal advice and is set to launch court action – believing that Ross’s death needs to be examined in order to try to prevent other similar tragedies.

A spokesman for Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership said: “Due to patient confidentiality we cannot comment on matters relating to individual patients.

“Our thoughts are with this family during this sad time. Every suicide is a tragedy and the impact for families, friends and local communities can last a lifetime.”


Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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