‘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.”