Scotland's Mental Health Act is written about in glowing terms as if it transcends other mental health law documents. But what use a piece of paper that isn't implemented in psychiatric settings, resulting in human rights abuse and people with "mental disorders" put at risk?
Our Act was written in 2003 and came into play in 2005, as far as I am aware. It's now 2014 and in Fife where I live there is no evidence, from the patient and carer perspective, that psychiatric professionals are implementing the Act or protecting the rights of patients under the Act. Safeguards that aren't safe. The game's a bogey.
In February 2012 my son was studying the MH Act for a university honours dissertation and knew what his rights were. However as a psychiatric patient detained under the Act in Stratheden Hospital's IPCU there was little evidence that staff in the ward gave any credence to patient or carer rights.
They kept on doing what they have always done which is to lock patients in a seclusion room overnight with no toilet or water to drink, in the dark, light switch outside, even if injured and drugged up with benzos. After all, that's what they are used to doing and the regular inpatients expect it. Human rights abuse.
Ironically the senior charge nurse of the Stratheden IPCU told me when my son was first admitted that her ward was all about "relationship". I believed her, she sounded genuine. And then I found out from my son what had been happening and at the same time was bullied by a group of 5 nurses in the IPCU dining room that doubled as a visiting room.
From that point on I didn't believe a word they said and kept an eye out for my son. Advocating for him at clinical meetings and doing what I could to ensure his safety. It wasn't easy. They labelled me a "difficult and demanding mother" in psychiatric notes and did their best to force me out of the situation so that I'd leave them to "care" for my son. Not on your nelly.
For me to believe that real change has happened at Stratheden Hospital and that mental health act safeguards are being implemented, I will need proof from the patient and carer perspective. Evidence from the customers of the service. Straight from the horse's mouth.