Ombudsman to probe Dundee medical practice over treatment of tragic Lee

Phil Welsh with a photo of his son Lee

The family of tragic Lee Welsh confirmed today that their complaint against a city medical practice is to be investigated.

Lee’s dad Phil said he had been told that the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) had agreed to look into their complaint against Coldside Medical Practice, in Strathmartine Road.

Lee, 27, was under their care at the time he took his own life on August 8 last year.

Speaking just days after what would have been Lee’s 28th birthday on Wednesday, Phil, 48, told the Tele he hoped that the probe by the SPSO might provide some answers.

He added that by highlighting what might have gone wrong in Lee’s treatment and care, the family could possibly help prevent someone else’s child taking their own life.

Lee was found dead at his Peddie Street home, in the city’s West End, by his girlfriend Leigh Gibson.

Lee Welsh

At the time, Phil and Lee’s devastated mum Lesley Nicoll paid tribute to their “funny, talented and happy-go-lucky” son.

But his dad said the family was upset and frustrated that troubled Lee, a musician who played with rock band Modern Culture, was not given enough help.

He said: “He talked about them [Coldside Medical Practice] and he asked for help from them.

“Unfortunately, I don’t believe that enough was done to help our son.”

Phil vowed at the time to fight for better support for young people suffering similar problems and since then he has led a high-profile campaign in Dundee.

“If anything comes out of this, I want it to be that no other young person does what Lee did,” Phil said.

After Lee’s death, Phil lodged a complaint against Coldside Medical Practice, where Lee was treated as a patient.

He added: “Because Lee wasn’t under the care of mental health services in Dundee at the time, the complaint had to go to the practice that treated him. The case was then referred to the SPSO.

Phil said: “It will be about nine or 10 months before we get a conclusion to the investigation but we feel it is important to go down this road to get answers.

“We are firmly of the opinion the practice could have done more and we want that looked into at a higher level.

“Before he died, Lee was going to the doctor and asking for help but he wasn’t getting it. That needs to change.

“No one in particular is to blame. The resources are just not there to help young people like Lee.”

Lee’s parents said their son had never been given a final diagnosis, with Phil adding: “Bipolar was talked about but that was never confirmed. If he had got better support then this might never have happened.”

Phil and Lesley have set up a website in memory of Lee, which they hope will lead to action on mental health issues.

The website, notinvainforlee.co.uk, aims to provide a platform for people, young and old, to share their experiences of mental health.

Phil has also written to politicians and councillors throughout the region, urging them to put political differences aside and address mental health provision.

He is keen to see a mental health crisis support centre, similar to a facility opened in Edinburgh, established in Dundee.

Phil said: “If through this focus we can prevent one family from enduring the heartache we as a family are currently suffering, then Lee’s death will not have been in vain. We miss Lee so much.”

A spokesman for Coldside Medical Practice declined to comment.

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here  

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Mum of tragic Dundee dad Dale urges others to ‘keep up the fight’

Dale Thomson and mum Mandy McLaren

The mum of a young Dundee dad who took his own life after seeking treatment at the Carseview Centre has called on families in similar situations to “keep fighting”.

Dale Thomson, 28, was treated at the psychiatric unit between January 8 and 10 2015 after concerns were raised about his wellbeing and safety.

The Charleston man had been hearing voices, having paranoid ideas and had tried to take his life days earlier.

The Carseview Centre, beside Ninewells Hospital

He became restless and left the unit on January 10. He was further assessed on January 23 but wasn’t detained and was found dead four days later by his mum Mandy McLaren.

Dale’s death led to a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) taking place — the findings of which are due to be released later this year.

Mandy thanked people for their support during the FAI and also thanked other families who have gone through a similar process to seek justice for their loved ones.

She said: “It has been really hard having to sit through everything and being in limbo for three years.

“You don’t know what to do in the situation. You don’t know how to get the information you need.

“Sitting through the inquiry and hearing them talk about Dale was hard.

“It was about making sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to anyone else — there are other people out there who can be helped because of this.”

Dale Thomson

Mandy called on people in similar situations to follow the process through to the end — despite the emotional impact it has had on her and the rest of Dale’s family.

She said: “I would like to thank everyone who has supported my family through the FAI.

“I would also like to say thank you to every family who has fought for change in the mental health system. I know there are families who have fought a lot longer than we have and are still fighting.”

The FAI — which started in May last year — concluded at Dundee Sheriff Court last week.

Submissions were made by lawyers representing Dale’s family, procurator fiscal Steven Quither, medical staff who treated him and the NHS Tayside board.

 

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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Mental health service revamp across Tayside gains approval

The Carseview Centre

Health chiefs in Tayside have stated having two centres of excellence is the only safe way forward for inpatient mental health services.

The decision was taken at a meeting of Perth and Kinross Integration Joint Board following months of consultation, campaigning and protest.

It will see general adult psychiatry acute admissions centralised at the Carseview Centre at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital.

Learning disability inpatient services will be provided at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth alongside other specialist services, including rehabilitation and substance misuse.

The decision will see services relocated from the outdated Strathmartine Hospital and the Mulberry unit at Stracathro Hospital in Angus.

The board voted five to one (an abstention) in favour of the preferred option.

Clinicians believe the steps will secure the future of inpatient services, improve the quality of service and environment available to patients and make services more attractive to potential staff.

Individual health and social care partnerships in Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross will be working to enhance mental and health and learning disability services in local communities, where 94% of mental health care is delivered.

More than 100,000 people took part in an often-criticised consultation process and more than 57% of those who responded said they were against the proposals.

NHS Tayside’s medical director Andy Russell, however, said the present model of care could not continue, with the redesign proposed “the only safe option”.

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here  

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