Concerns over potential impact of Dundee library cuts

Concerns over potential impact of Dundee library cuts

Cutting Dundee’s library budget could have long-term consequences on literacy, social isolation and mental health.

The warning comes after Leisure and Culture Dundee (LACD), the arms-length organisation that runs the service, announced plans to decimate libraries’ budgets this week.

The organisation has to find £860,000 to balance its budget this year and aims to do this through a combination of cuts and price increases.

The cuts include reducing the resource budget of libraries – the money available for new books and periodicals – and cutting staff numbers through voluntary redundancy and early retirement.

 

The organisation, which also runs the McManus, Camperdown and Caird Park golf courses and the Olympia Swimming Pool, said it may not replace all departing staff in order to keep costs down.

Sean McNamara, head of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland, said cuts to library services can have serious long-term consequences.

He said: “We realise that council services are under severe financial pressure and difficult decisions need to be made.

“However, cuts to resources and staffing can impact on vital services that libraries provide for communities.

“Libraries and their skilled staff help improve literacy levels as well as tackling social isolation and supporting mental health and they also play a key role in the current digital strategy for Scotland by providing free access for people unable to get online at home.

“Any local authority considering cutting budgets must ensure they have fully assessed the long-term impact any cuts may have.

”Labour group leader Kevin Keenan said “slashing the culture budget” was the wrong thing to do when Dundee is trying to promote itself as one of Scotland’s leading cultural destinations.

He said: “Obviously, I am deeply disappointed to hear there is a potential load of job losses.

“When we are trying to attract people and tourists here with things like the V&A, slashing the culture budget does not seem like the thing to do.”

A report to Dundee City Council’s policy and resources committee this year revealed that Dundee has the highest percentage of citizens who are library users out of all of the Scottish authorities.

Nine of the 13 libraries showed an increase in visits in 2016-2017.

The Central Library is Scotland’s busiest.

Last year there were concerns cuts could lead to restricted opening times in some city libraries.

A spokesman for Leisure and Culture Dundee said there were currently no plans to reduce opening times.

He said: “There are no changes to opening hours at this time.”

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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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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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Relocation of local services will be ‘a travesty for people struggling with mental health’

The Carseview Centre, beside Ninewells

Tayside health bosses are set to press ahead with the relocation of major mental health services, in the face of widespread opposition.

A consultation on moving all acute mental health services for the region to Dundee’s Carseview Centre — resulting in the closure of the recently renovated Mulberry Unit at Stracathro Hospital — ended in October.

The survey also asked for views on the relocation of learning disability services from Carseview and Strathmartine Hospital to wards at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth.

Service users, the public and community groups from Dundee, Perth and Angus all voiced their disapproval of the plans — but health bosses at the Perth and Kinross Integration Joint Board, which will make a final decision on the plans in January, have indicated they intend to carry out the “necessary” changes.

A draft feedback statement said: “It is clear from the consultation that the majority of people would prefer to receive their health care close to where they live.

“The challenge to mental health services is balancing this with the need to provide safe inpatient services which are high quality and provide best value for money.”

During the feedback, 57% opposed relocating Tayside’s acute mental health services to Carseview, in Tom McDonald Avenue.

In addition, 59% of respondents were against relocating all inpatient learning disability services to Perth.

The Susan Carnegie Centre, at Stracathro Hospital, which houses the Mulberry unit.

Several community and support groups expressed “major” concerns about rural patients’ ability to access services should the move go ahead.

However, health bosses believe centralising services is the “safest, most sustainable” way of looking after patients.

The preferred option is expected to be formally approved in January, with refurbishment of Carseview commencing in November 2018 and the full “transformation” programme completed by June 2020.

Phil Welsh, whose son Lee was found dead at his home in Dundee’s West End in July having experienced mental health problems for a decade, said the plan was “a travesty” for people with mental health problems in Tayside.

Phil said: “What you are going to have is people who are experiencing mental health problems, that need to be seen by a crisis team rapidly, having to get to Dundee on a bus, in a taxi or relying on someone to give them a lift. It is putting stress onto people who are already in a very stressful situation.”

Mairi Gougeon, MSP for Angus North and Mearns, said: “I’m absolutely staggered that I am learning about this proposal through the media and not directly from anyone at NHS Tayside.

“However, sadly, it is in keeping with the way this entire consultation process has been conducted. I still firmly believe that the consultation process was biased, over-complicated and heavily weighted towards the preferred option.”

North East region MSP Liam Kerr described the consultation process as “a sham”.

He said: “I have real concerns about contingency plans if something goes wrong at Carseview, once the dust settles.”

Robert Packham (right), chief officer for Perth & Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “This feedback forms a critical part of the evidence which will be presented to the NHS Tayside board and the Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross Integration Joint Board during December and January.

“If the preferred option is approved, NHS Tayside and the health and social care partnerships are committed to continuing conversations with staff, service users, carers, partner organisations and local communities to address the issues they have raised and look at ways of minimising the impact of the proposed changes.”

 

 

Link to Evening Telegraph here 

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Tayside Police and mental heath referrals.

Image result for CARSEVIEW DUNDEE

 

The following video was lifted from STV’s North Tonight. the quality of the video is not brilliant, however, it would be good to receive some opinion regarding the training of police officers to make the decision whether an individual with mental health issues should be referred to Carseview by means of a telephone conversation. Also it should be noted that often a person may not express the anxiety they are currently experiencing over the phone. Often the physical actions of an individual can reveal much more than what a telephone consultation can.

Report can be viewed here   

 

In addition to the article/video above, I received this observation regarding the subject from a friend of a friend on Facebook.  Please share any opinion or experience you have regarding this particular subject in our contact section. Which you can find here

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Call for new crisis centre in Dundee to help folk thinking about suicide

Lesley Nicoll and Phil Welsh — the parents of Lee Welsh — next to a mural in his memory.

New figures have revealed that almost three quarters of all suicides in Dundee were among men.

The latest statistics released by the NHS show that there were a total of 147 suicides in Dundee between 2009 and 2015, of which 109 were men.

The figures also show that the majority of men who committed suicide in the city were employed in senior positions, such as managers, while 43% of men who committed suicide were unemployed, disabled or living off their own means.

One Dundee dad who knows only too well the devastation and heartbreak caused by suicide is Phil Welsh.

Lee Welsh, 27, of the city’s West End, took his own life in August, leaving his friends and family devastated. Phil  called for a crisis centre — similar to one in Edinburgh, which is open 24/7 and provides community based, emotional and practical support at times of crisis — to be set up in Dundee.

Phil told the Evening Telegraph: “Not until Lee died did I appreciate just how many men took their own lives.

“Lee’s death left our family heartbroken and we’re doing everything we can to stop this happening to other families.

“We would like to see a crisis centre set up in Dundee similar to the one in Edinburgh where people who feel suicidal can turn.”

The Tele previously told that Lee had battled mental health issues for almost a decade prior to his death.

Lee’s suicide prompted his parents to campaign for more action to help people with similar issues and following his death, the website Not in Vain for Lee was established.

He 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.”

Rob Burns, development manager of Dundee’s mental health service the Hearing Voices Network, said that the figures relating to men did not surprise him.

Mr Burns said men who have taken their own lives may not have spoken to anyone about the issues they are experiencing.

He added: “It is really quite frightening the number of people who take their own lives.

“We are very aware that up until now men have not been as willing to come forward to talk about their mental issues or other things that are concerning them as women have been.

“I would think the men in Dundee who have taken their own lives have not previously spoken to anyone about their concerns.

“We are currently doing a lot of work to get men to open up, including taking on more male volunteer supporters.”

The majority of men — 64% — who took their own lives were also single, compared to just over 18% who were married or in a civil relationship.

The figures also revealed that 36 suicides took place within five years of discharge from a mental health service.

While 22 — 15% — of all suicides occurred within 12 months of the person being discharged from a mental health service.

The stats also reveal that more than 87% of people were taking antidepressants at the time of death, while 44.6% were on drugs used in psychoses and related disorders.

The figures follow recent reports that Dundee’s suicide rate is at its highest in 21 years.

A total of 37 people took their lives in 2016 — more than three every month.

n If you feel suicidal, or just need someone to talk to, volunteers at the Samaritans are on hand to help 24 hours a day.

Contact them by calling 116123, or by emailing jo@samaritans.org.

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