Press Release Forth Valley

9th April 2014

Scottish Families affected by Alcohol and Drugs (Scottish Families) is one of four national organisations commissioned by the Scottish Government to deliver its drug and alcohol strategies, “The Road to Recovery” and “Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol”. Scottish Families remit is to ensure families are given adequate and appropriate support as they too need to recover.

Scottish Families offers support and guidance to Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) and other service providers.

Scottish Families Forth Valley services commenced on the 1st April 2014 following the successful award of a tender by Forth Valley Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP). Scottish Families will develop, deliver and maintain a range of family support services across Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire. These will be tailored to address the needs of individual families and family support groups. Scottish Families will work in close partnership with the wealth of existing support services in the Forth Valley area to ensure a wide range of coordinated and dovetailed family support services that will raise the profile of support for families affected by alcohol and drugs.

The roles of the Family Support Development Officer and Family Support Worker in Forth Valley will help raise awareness of the issues faced by families and support families in their own right. Scottish Families sees first hand some of the problems families face such as anxiety, stigma, an unrecognised caring role and financial difficulties. Families need support to develop coping strategies in order to have a positive role in the recovery process and these new posts will assist families to cope with the impact of someone else’s substance misuse and offer advocacy support and evidence based interventions.

These new posts are supported and welcomed by the Forth Valley Alcohol and Drug Partnership.

Scottish Families is delighted to be to be working in partnership with Forth Valley ADP. The increase in services as a result of this partnership will provide much needed support for families affected by alcohol and drugs and recognises the important role they have in a loved one’s recovery.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:

“When I was Deputy Justice Minister I attended and arranged support for the first ever national meeting of groups across Scotland supporting families and members affected by substance misuse. This led to the creation of the national support organisation Scottish Families affected by Drugs. The organisation has extended its support to those with alcohol problems as well.”

“Having worked as a consultant Psychiatrist in Addictions I know how important it is to provide support to help people in recovery. So I am delighted to see that Scottish Families affected by Alcohol and Drugs will now be working with other services in Forth Valley to provide more support.”

Contact details for the Forth Valley service are:

Helpline   08080 101011





Unprecedented number of MSPs sign up to hear views on their local health services

At a parliamentary event this week, 43 MSPs have signed up to hear their constituents’ views of local health services, using the ground breaking, patient feedback website Patient Opinion.

Patient Opinion, the award winning website which supports public dialogue between patients and staff, is now available to all MSPs. They will be able to hear the experiences of local patients, see how local Health Boards are responding and respond directly themselves.

It is anticipated that MSPs will hear thousands of stories a year ranging from serious complaints about the health service to plaudits and compliments about health service staff going over the odds.

The move was backed by, Alex Neil, MSP and Cabinet Secretary for Health & Wellbeing, who said:

“We want to hear patient’s stories first hand in their own words, whether it’s good or bad, because it helps us to make our health services better, and Patient Opinion means that patients, carers and their families are able to let health boards know, openly and publically, how a service was for them and where it can improve.”

“Many of these stories can be inspirational and where our health professionals are doing a great job we want them to know about it.”

“This is another step forward in developing a culture of openness and transparency in NHS Scotland that actively welcomes feedback as a tool for continuous improvement.”

One of the MSPs who signed up was Dr Richard Simpson, from Mid Scotland and Fife region, said: “Learning from Patient feedback and experience is of supreme importance for improving the health service. Patient Opinion is a superb organisation, which makes a massive contribution to ensuring that happens.”

James Munro, Chief Executive of Patient Opinion, said: “Now MSPs can quickly and easily see what is working well and what isn’t, and whether their local health services are responding.

“Health policy in Scotland is about quality, safety, patient rights and person-centred care.”

“I think Scotland will go further, and faster, with Patient Opinion than other parts of the UK because of this. I think other parts of the UK should watch and learn from what you do here.”


Notes to editors:

Patient Opinion is an independent website which enables patients to share stories about their care. Through Patient Opinion’s website,, service users, carers and their families can comment on the care they have received from the NHS anonymously. These comments which can already be sent directly to the specific trust can now also go directly to local MPs, who then have the opportunity to publicly respond to the feedback of their constituents.

Alex Neil is currently a member of the Scottish Parliament for Airdrie & Shotts and Cabinet Secretary for Health & Wellbeing in the Scottish Government.

Dr Richard Simpson is currently member of the Scottish Parliament for Mid Scotland and Fife.

Over 90% of stories shared on Patient Opinion have been responded to. 8% of stories which were critical have led to planned or promised change.

Here are some stories shared on Patient Opinion across Scotland. The 43 signed up MSPs will receive patient stories like this with immediate effect date.


“Lack of signs to Ward 10” –

“Lack of bladder scan after gynaecology surgery”

“Hospital hygiene and protocol”

“Elderly mother given appointment date for 10 months’ time!”

“My appointment procedure for the vascular clinic”

Depression Awareness Week

Motion S4M-09624: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/04/2014
Depression Awareness Week

That the Parliament welcomes Depression Awareness Week, which will run from 26 April to 3 May 2014; understands that two people die from suicide every day in Scotland; further understands that Action on Depression is the only national Scottish organisation working with and for people affected by depression and that it runs an email and phone information service, self-help support groups and  a monthly web chat; believes that self-management, coproduction and the development of social capital assets of the type being promoted by the Depression Alliance are all of increasing importance in supporting people living with depression; notes that many people who have severe and enduring illness, of which depression can be one form, have poorer physical health, which requires active support; considers with regret that the administration of welfare reforms does not adequately allow for the intermittent nature of the effects of long-term depressive or bipolar illness; recognises what it considers the significant benefits of the SeeMe Scottish anti-stigma programme, and welcomes its continuation.