3 October 2019

Nicola Sturgeon should intervene after NHS Tayside “ignored” a recommendation from the independent inquiry into mental health services, Richard Leonard has said.

Dr David Strang, who is leading the inquiry, said in an interim report published in May that the board should not consider centralising Tayside mental health services until “a comprehensive review of mental health service strategy” is carried out.

Mr Leonard first raised in May 2018 at FMQs the case of David Ramsay, who died by suicide at the age of 50 having been twice turned away from Carseview.

Scottish Labour then secured the inquiry.

Earlier this week, the "Courier" reported that inquiry chief Dr Strang had expressed his frustration that this review had not been carried out - and the NHS board was pressing ahead with centralisation. Dr Strang was quoted as saying: “It is disappointing. This was the only recommendation in the whole report, because I thought it was urgently needed.”

At First Minister’s Questions, the Scottish Labour leader said: “Not only has NHS Tayside failed to carry out that review.

"Worse still, the Board is pressing ahead with the centralisation of services.

“First Minister, this is an independent inquiry set up because of the deep concerns of families who have lost their loved ones through suicide. Why is there no urgency? And why is the sole recommendation so far of this independent inquiry being wilfully ignored?”

Mr Leonard quoted David Ramsay’s niece Gillian Murray, who told the Scottish Labour leader yesterday: “NHS Tayside refuse to listen, they refuse to change, they are being allowed to carry on: business as usual… things are getting worse at NHS Tayside, not better.”

At FMQs, Mr Leonard went on to ask: “If the independent expert appointed to chair this inquiry, a man with considerable experience says his recommendation is being ignored despite demanding action as far back as May, and the families are saying that things are getting worse not better, your expectation is not being met.

“So isn’t it time that you stepped in before more time is wasted, more families are made to suffer, and more lives are needlessly lost?”
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