Ex-health chief: Tayside mental health inquiry ‘screwed’ service plans

Ex-health chief: Tayside mental health inquiry ‘screwed’ service plans

A former health board chief has sparked fury by suggesting a landmark inquiry into mental health services should not have gone ahead because it held up work to improve care.

Crawford Reid, former chairman of the Perth and Kinross integrated joint board (IJB), believes the independent inquiry “completely screwed” plans to redesign local mental health facilities.

The inquiry, led by former prisons governor David Strang, strongly criticised what it described as a loss of “trust and respect” in local psychiatric services.

But Dr Reid believes the launch of the inquiry – at the behest of the bereaved families of suicide victims – has set progress back in Tayside by two years.

The redesign was signed off in January 2018 by Perth and Kinross IJB, which is in charge of inpatient mental health services, but was put on hold following the inquiry’s interim report in May last year.

Ahead of an NHS meeting to discuss a proposed action plan on mental health tomorrow (Thursday), Dr Reid said: “Several aspects of the inquiry report give me great concern. (Ex-chair and ex-chief executive) John Brown and Malcolm Wright came in at a time when Tayside was in a dysfunctional shape – it was a knee-jerk reaction.

“I’m not minimising how ruinous suicide is but what’s happened is the mental health transformation programme has been basically put on hold.

“If the transformation programme had started to move in, things would have improved with a full complement of consultants.

“They completely screwed it.”

Relatives of those who took their own lives after engaging with local mental health services have criticised Dr Reid’s comments as poorly considered.

Gillian Murray, whose uncle David Ramsay died in 2016 due to alleged “negligence” of NHS staff, said: “I’m quite shocked to read these comments.

“There have been ample opportunities for genuine change with regards to mental health services in Tayside over the years given the sheer volume of investigations and horror stories.

“Nothing was changing hence why I, and others campaigned for this inquiry.

“Perhaps if these fantastic changes that are being proposed had actually been implemented years ago, lives would have been saved and there would have been no need for an inquiry.”

Gillian Murray

She added: “I feel yet again that we, the bereaved families who campaigned tirelessly for change, are being used as a scapegoat for the never-ending list of failures.”

Mandy McLaren, who lost her son Dale Thomson to suicide in 2015, said: “The redesign was in the interim report, and it did say it should be halted.

“The matter with him is he doesn’t want to take any responsibility for the part they all played in allowing these failures and allowing these deaths.”

Following a near-two-year investigation, the Independent Inquiry issued 51 recommendations  on February 5.

Witnesses who gave accounts to the inquiry described how the transformation programme appeared to be little more than an asset management plan to save money.

However, Dr Reid believes that, with time, the programme could have gradually reintroduced localised care at facilities such as the Mulberry Unit in Angus, which was mothballed in 2017 despite being only despite being opened in 2011.

He also believes independent case reviews should have been held for each person who dies after engaging with mental health services.

“If you look at each and every recommendation there’s not one that moves the process of improving mental health services in Tayside one inch forward,” he added.

“Not one of those 51 recommendations, without the transformation programme going on, will improve anything.

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

“The transformation programme had no time to bed in and move forward – if it had been allowed to develop the situation would have been fantastic compared to what it was two years ago.

“It’s not perfect but it’s far better than what we’ve been left with at this time. The sooner it gets put back on the boiler the better.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, this inquiry should not have gone ahead.”

NHS Tayside and the independent inquiry have been contacted for comment.

“We really need to work with staff to fix mental health”

Renewed calls have been made by NHS staff representatives for health bosses to work with them to improve mental health services in Tayside following the publication of the Strang report.

Jenny Alexander, employee director at NHS Tayside and a Unison rep, said the 51 recommendations were unlikely to be met unless staff were on board with the health board’s plans

She warned that actions could not be rushed through in the way the mental health transformation programme was perceived to be by some observers in 2018.

She told a meeting of Dundee’s health and social care partnership board (HSCP) yesterday: “The partnership aspect of this is very, very important.

“If we are running off and doing things like in 2018 we’re not going to do anything differently.

“We really need to start working in partnership with staff-side – if we don’t have staff on side we will never get through those 51 recommendations.

“We need to make sure we have improvements done for these people that we’re caring for.”

The independent inquiry found that staff reported feeling disrespected and undervalued by senior colleagues.

One mental health staffer described the atmosphere in mental health services as “a culture of fear”.

Arlene Mitchell, Dundee HSCP locality manager, says actions have already been taken in response to the inquiry.

These include the creation of new senior mental health posts, a new process for investigating adverse events and a plan to improve better support for those leaving mental health inpatient services.

Ms Mitchell said: “From a Dundee perspective, we’re in a good position…to ensure a strong staff partnership approach.

“We feel there’s a need to strengthen some of the staff partnership activity.”

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here  

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Nearly half of Dundee suicide victims sought crisis help in the year before death

Nearly half of Dundee suicide victims sought crisis help in the year before death

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VIDEO: ‘You never get over it’ – Dundee parents discuss their children’s suicides

VIDEO: ‘You never get over it’ – Dundee parents discuss their children’s suicides

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 
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‘The services must change’ – Council leader John Alexander responds to Tayside mental health report

‘The services must change’ – Council leader John Alexander responds to Tayside mental health report

The leader of Dundee City Council has responded to an independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside.

John Alexander has today posted a statement on Facebook, stating that the capacity of the services “needs to increase” and that there are “too many people spread too thinly”.

An inquiry to examine the accessibility, safety, quality and standards of care provided by all mental health services in the region was commissioned after concerns were raised in the Scottish Parliament.

The final report, Trust and Respect, was published last week and was chaired by David Strang CBE.

Mr Alexander wrote: “Last week in a 136-page document, Dr David Strang set out the results and recommendations stemming from the independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside.

“I spent the weekend pouring over the entirety of the document, considering it’s contents and thinking about what kind of service could be provided if those 51 recommendations are adopted.

“It’s vital that each word on those page is taken in. It was hard hitting, honest and to be frank, painted a deeply worrying picture of where things were.

“Mental health and it’s impact on too many people is an issue very close to my heart, even closer more recently but it’s also something that isn’t talked about enough – between family members and friends. I spent my Sunday morning with friends and one of the things we were talking about was the battles with mental health.

“I defy anyone to find someone that doesn’t have a family member, friend or someone that they work with who hasn’t suffered from issues related to mental health.

“We need to continue to remove any stigma associated with it and support those who need support. There is of course, a wide spectrum and the impacts can often be unseen, sometimes until it’s too late.

“There continues to be a significant number of people in crisis, at the end of their tether and struggling to manage daily life. What this report says very strongly and clearly is that people have been let down by services in Tayside. What it also says is that going forward, the services must change.

“The bottom line for me is that the capacity of those services needs to increase. There are too many people spread too thinly and too many silos that don’t allow for sustained collaboration.

“The Chief Executive of NHS Tayside has, to his credit, apologised for those failings and has said that his “…personal commitment to the people of Tayside is that I will work with them to address all the recommendations made by Dr Strang in his report.”

Grant Archibald.

“I’ve already discussed the matter with officers and look forward to meeting with NHS colleagues to see what actions have already been taken forward and hear how they intent to address the 51 recommendations.

“This report has been long anticipated and whilst I think there was a general expectation that there were issues, the fact that it has done such a thorough analysis and 1,500 interviews during that process should provide the evidence base required to make some big and necessary changes.”

 

Link to Evening  Telegraph article here 

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NHS boss apologises for mental health service failings in Tayside

NHS boss apologises for mental health service failings in Tayside

The chief executive of NHS Tayside has publicly apologised to patients, family and staff for the failings of mental health services laid bare in a damning report.

Grant Archibald has also pledged that he personally will oversee and drive change and improvement in the mental health care offered by the health board.

Mr Archibald spoke to the Tele six days after the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Mental Health Services in Tayside was published.

David Strang’s Trust and Respect report identified 51 recommendations to be implemented to improve mental health services in Tayside.

It also highlighted numerous failings, including a breakdown of trust and respect, a failure to deliver services, a lack of psychiatrists, a lack of leadership and a lack of accountability.

Mr Archibald said: “We apologise, I apologise to all patients and families who have felt let down by services.

“Our aim is to care for each individual patient. I apologise if that has not happened.”

“Dr Strang’s report was hugely important for Tayside and for the people of Tayside.

“We recognised 18 month ago the level of concern there was over mental health services in Tayside. We responded by commissioning the independent review.

“We now realise that it is important that we now learn from this report which goes into  significant detail following interviews with 1,500 people during the process.

“It is important that we listen to these voices and to the experiences detailed by patients and others.

“First of all we apologise, we have listened and now we need to learn and change.

“We must rebuild confidence in the NHS and we recognise that that is not going to be easy.

“My personal commitment to the  people of Tayside is that I will work with them to address all the recommendations made by Dr Strang in his report.”

Among the recommendations the board are now going to look at are the provision of a 24/7  crisis care centre.

A review will also take place into its current facilities, including Carseview, to establish whether they are fit for purpose.

Meanwhile, allegations of bullying from staff will also be investigated, and the board is also going to attempt to identify new ways of attracting more staff, including more psychiatrists.

Mr Archibald said that the process of change had already begin, with a statement of intent now signed by him, the chief executives of the local authorities in the board area, and police

He added: “This will take time but we will be listening and  we are are committed to learning from past mistakes

“I personally will be playing a key role and will continually report back progress that is made.

“We are aware the the spotlight is now on us I will be ensuring that all the recommendations made by Dr Strang to improve mental health services are acted upon.”

“I recognise there are challenges with all of these issues but there is a real enthusiasm  to meet these challenges and improve mental health services provided by NHS Tayside.”

Mr Archibald said Dr Strang will return in a year’s time, by which point he hoped to “provide him with the evidence that change is actively taking place”.

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here  

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