‘Time for a major review of mental health services which puts rights first’ – Simpson

Scottish Labour on Wednesday used the Stage 3 reading of the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill to call for a major review of mental health services in Scotland which would put the rights of patients first.

However, the Scottish Government rejected the majority of amendments tabled by Dr Richard Simpson MSP.

The following amendments submitted by Dr Richard Simpson MSP were rejected:
• Use of psychotropic substances which sought to require ministers to make regulations setting out conditions that must be satisfied before treatment by psychotropic substances may be given.
• Extending the regulation-making power to all units or qualifying hospitals other than the state hospital.
• Review of levels of security which would require a review of all security before further regulations are made.
• Human rights implications of a patient’s right to refuse treatment.
• Proper scrutiny of advocacy services.
• Provision for referral and review of certain cases
• Ensuring that in cases where there is a homicide by a person with mental illness lessons are learned and those with mental health problems can, as far as possible, be protected and prevented from committing such offences.

The Scottish Government also rejected an amendment tabled by Jackie Baillie MSP which sought an evaluation as to whether learning disability and autism should be considered a mental disorder.

Scottish Labour has called upon the other parties in the Scottish Parliament to support their plans, and put the rights of vulnerable Scots first.

Scottish Labour Public and Mental Health Spokesperson Dr Richard Simpson, a psychiatrist with 23-years’ experience, said:

“I am extremely disappointed that the Scottish government failed to support many of my amendments which had had the support of several organisations involved in dealing with mental health problems in the community.

“The amendment to review the levels of security was supported by 9 different organisations including the Royal College of Psychiatry, yet the Scottish Government still failed to support it.

“Mental Health is one of the great public health challenges of our time; this bill should have been an opportunity to put rights first and broaden patients’ security.

“We have made significant strides in the last decade to remove much of the stigma of mental illness, but it still remains a taboo subject for many.

“In Scotland today a quarter of people will experience a diagnosable mental health problem at some point in our lives. It is time for a major review which will put the rights of patients first and improve mental health services in Scotland and I will hold the Scottish government to account in commencing and completing such review.”


Dr Richard Simpson MSP signs a petition to reinstate 140,000 college places

The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, Dr Richard Simpson is one of the 905 supporters of the petition created by a 21 year old student from Glasgow condemning the Scottish Government for their cuts to college places since they came into power.

Eunis Jassemi-Zargani has created the petition which 500 people have signed in the first 24 hour sine it was launched on 11 July 2015.

Official statistics show 238,399 students enrolled in colleges in 2013/14 compared to 379,233 in 2007/08.

Edinburgh College decreased places from 37,500 in 2010-11 to 23,000 in 2013-14.

Fife College has to cut places for the upcoming academic year. Student numbers are set to drop by 3,610 between 2014/15 and 2015/16 with part time study dropping by 3,638 students.
Part time places are mostly affected by these cuts, which are favoured by many mothers trying to find a route back to employment after having children.
Colleges and staff across the country have to take the burden of these cuts.

Eunis Jassemi-Zargani will submit this petition to the First Minister later this summer.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:

“Further education plays a vital role in our society and the SNP Government has failed students across Scotland by just concentrating on Universities and forgetting about those who rely on College education.

“Women seeking to balance family work and seeking up skilling are most affected as are those who have to work to make ends meet and still want to up skill.

“For many young adults college is a second chance that the SNP has decided should be denied them. The SNP have also cut student bursaries.

“These cuts are a disgrace and simply unacceptable. The SNP Government should be ashamed of taking peoples’ opportunities to access education.

“I hope people will join me in supporting this petition as it is vital that we reinstate the 140,000 college places axed by the SNP.”


You can find the link to the petition here.

St Ninian’s Primary School’s Run a Mile Initiative

Motion S4M-13727: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour
That the Parliament congratulates the staff and pupils at St Ninian’s Primary School in Stirling on their initiative, Run a Mile, which has been credited with improving their health and stamina; notes that this innovative scheme involves pupils walking or running a mile around a specially-built circuit outside the playground every day; welcomes this extra 15-minute daily mile of exercise being in addition to PE classes, and further welcomes the news that a number of other schools are now looking at copying the scheme.