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,, 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