My advice to anyone considering making a complaint to NHS Fife about Stratheden Hospital or other psychiatric services is that you have to be persistent and expect to be in it for the long haul. Justice will be a long time coming. But I'm prepared to wait and to act in the meantime, speaking out whenever and wherever I can.
I've always been someone who likes and expects fairness, and try to be fair in my dealings with others. I remember in the school playground standing up to the bullies and standing with those who were being picked on. Nothing has changed. Although I know that life isn't always or often fair that doesn't mean I will be putting up with injustice.
I've had many people write and speak to me about what happened to them in Stratheden and other Fife psychiatric settings. They are aggrieved and angry about what was done to them. It wasn't easy listening to their stories and unfair treatment. Most times when I visit Stratheden Hospital a patient will engage with me and want me to hear their story.
I hear from the long-stay patients, some of whom don't want to leave the hospital as they've been there for 20 or more years. It's like home to them although they live in dorms and their possessions may be locked away. One guy told me about his model car hobby but when I asked about them he said they were locked in a shed.
A female long-stay patient has often spoken with me, saying how she wanted to return and live in her home town in central Fife. But it doesn't seem to be happening and instead she has to go to another town and area she's not familiar with. So much for person-centred services. Not where I live.
I remember a female acute ward patient telling me she couldn't go further than the gate. I asked if she was under the MH Act. But no she wasn't. It's just that the nurses told her she couldn't go far. This was a woman my age, a professional, articulate, and who heard voices. Her treatment was a high dose of anti-psychotic to silence the voices but this also made her sedated and unable to concentrate. She didn't know about the Hearing Voices Network in Fife. The nurses hadn't told her so I told her.
Many more tales to tell about the "land that time forgot".