Tayside health chiefs say their focus is on treating mental health patients at home – despite calls for improved hospital provision in Dundee.
The family of David Ramsay, who killed himself in October 2016 after he was reportedly rejected for treatment at psychiatric unit Carseview, have led calls for a facility similar to the now-closed Liff Hospital to be opened for those fighting mental health issues.
They have also campaigned to have a public inquiry launched in to the suicides of several people who have come in to contact with the centre.
The topic was brought up in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, when Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called for the inquiry.
He asked the First Minister: “Why has your government remained silent on this crisis and on this demand for a public inquiry?”
Nicola Sturgeon, sending her condolences to Mr Ramsay’s family, said it was “not fair or right” to say the government had been silent.
She said her administration would “pay very close attention” to NHS Tayside’s response to recommendations made by the Mental Welfare Commission, following an unannounced inspection in March.
Now, Robert Packham – chief officer for Perth & Kinross Health And Social Care Partnership, which runs adult mental health services across the area – appears to have ruled out the creation of a new facility.
He said only six out of every 100 mental health patients needed hospital treatment, adding: “We have been redesigning mental health services to adapt to the changing needs of our population and new services have been introduced to manage people in crisis and support people to remain at home.
“Healthcare is changing rapidly, with a greater focus on recovery and improved mental wellbeing.
“Specialist hospital services will always be needed for those who are most unwell and, when people are in hospital, they should receive the highest possible quality of care in buildings which are fit for the delivery of modern healthcare.
“It is important to remember that most people with a mental health problem are treated at home or in the community. When it is no longer possible to do this safely, a patient will be admitted to hospital.”