Dr Richard Simpson MSP Stands Up For Patients’ Rights

Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, Dr Richard Simpson MSP tabled several amendments to the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill, almost all of which are designed to maintain or enhance the rights of patients. They will in particular enhance the role of independent advocacy, enhance a review of deaths in detention or otherwise in hospital for treatment for a mental disorder and ensure that in cases where there is a homicide by a person with mental illness lessons are learned.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP was a psychiatrist and is the Honorary Professor of Psychology and Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry.

The Mental Health (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 19 June 2014. The overarching objective of the Bill is to help people with a mental disorder access effective treatment quickly and easily. The stage 3 proceedings will take place today (Wednesday afternoon) and MSPs will be required to vote on the amendments in the Scottish Parliament.

The Mental Health (Scotland) bill is the first significant revision of the ground breaking 2003 Act.

It followed from the McManus Review, a limited review of the civil provisions of the 2003 Act which was commissioned by the Scottish Government in 2008.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:

“The McManus Review was a partial and limited review. Not all its recommendations were accepted. The Bill as tabled was almost wholly a diminution of patients’ rights. The amendments I have tabled are without exception supported by organisations working for those with mental health problems.

“However, even if these amendments are passed the time has come for a wider review of the Incapacity Act 2000, the Mental Health Act (2003), and the Protection of Vulnerable Act 2007, to ensure that the rights of patients such as those with learning disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder and the rights of those who have sufficient capacity to refuse treatment should be fully respected.”


Wishing Jacqueline Dunlop a Happy Retirement

Motion S4M-13611: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour
That the Parliament wishes Mrs Jacqueline Dunlop a happy, exciting and action-packed retirement from her role as deputy headteacher at Lornshill Academy in Clackmannanshire; understands that Mrs Dunlop’s career has been an eventful and productive one, with the vast majority of her public service performed at Lornshill Academy, where, for over 30 years, she has educated and enhanced the learning of generations of pupils in various roles including as an English teacher, a departmental head, a faculty head, acting headteacher and in her current role as deputy headteacher; considers that such dedication, passion and drive has rightfully earned Mrs Dunlop a respect matched by few and an appreciation recognised by many; believes that, although colleagues, friends, current and former students will be saddened by the retirement of this popular educator, they can take comfort that they have all been part of her incredible journey, and considers that Mrs Dunlop should be proud of the influence that she has had on so many throughout her career.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP calls for annulment to the increase of fees proposed by HCPC

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, Dr Richard Simpson has called for the withdrawal of the proposed substantial increase in professional fees for those registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

The HCPC regulates 15 health professions across the UK, together with social workers in England. Operating department practitioners and practitioner psychologists fall within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament because they have been regulated since the Scotland Act 1998.

In 2014, the HCPC increased registration fees by an inflation-busting 5% but indicated to registrants that their fees would not be reviewed again for two years. However, in April 2015 it launched a short consultation on another unexpected fee increase of 12.5%, to take effect in August 2015.

As a Member of the Health and Sports Committee, Dr Richard Simpson MSP has expressed his opposition to this subordinate legislation. He has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament for the HCPC to annul the increase in professional fees.

The HCPC claimed that it had been forced to raise fees again in 2015 because the government had ceased funding for the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) – the body that oversees the health regulators including the HCPC, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the General Medical Council. The UK government has replaced their previous contribution by introducing a levy on individual regulators to fund the activities of the PSA.as a consequence the HCPC said it had no choice but to pass this cost on to registrants.

However, the HCPC admits that the PSA levy only comes to £3 per year per registrant, yet its proposal is for increases of between £10 and £25 a year.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:

“The withdrawal of funding from HCPC by the UK Government is yet another attack on health professionals who have had a pay freeze for several years. They have already been forced to pay significant pension increases simply to help with the deficit. But this offence is being compounded by the far larger increases demanded by the HCPC.

“This increase is extremely unfair on the registrants who are concerned that the HCPC appears to have license to keep increasing fees year on year well above inflation, while registrants face on-going pay restraint.

“In these difficult times measures like this, especially when they particularly affect women and part time workers are unfair. I have seen no equality impact statement from the HCPC or the government on this measure.

“For some this will be a final straw which pushes them into agency working instead.”