“Sometimes, when people are unwell, they may have to be detained in hospital or have treatment against their will. But they still have rights. We all have human rights, and mental health law contains special rights and safeguards to protect people.” Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
Unfortunately it was my family’s experience in February 2012 that the safeguards contained in the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 weren’t safe.
A family member who became an inpatient of an hospital’s IPCU on 1 February 2012 knew the Act well as they were studying it for a BSc honours sociology 4th year dissertation at University, and therefore knew their rights (they graduated this summer 2014). As primary carer and named person I also knew what their rights and mine were. However our knowledge and experience carried little weight when they were detained under the Act in a locked seclusion room with no toilet or water to drink, for hours at a time, medicated with Midazolam.
The Mental Health Act is based on a set of 10 Principles and at number 7:
“Respect for carers - Those who provide care to service users on an informal basis should receive respect for their role and experience, receive appropriate information and advice, and have their views and needs taken into account”
I contend that I was not accorded the respect as prescribed in the Act and was not given timely or appropriate information. For example on 1 February 2012 they received a serious hand injury and I wasn’t told about it until 3 February on a phone call. I then had to ask a doctor in the IPCU to examine it on Saturday 4 February, after attempts by nurses to keep me from visiting until Monday 6 February. I had to ask the ward Junior Doctor to examine my relative’s hand and then asked him to arrange an X-ray at St Andrews Hospital which I also attended, on 6 February where it was confirmed that they had breaks to their right hand at the joints. (my relative is a pianist)
I contend that I was bullied and intimidated by 5 nurses in the dining room of the IPCU on Saturday 4 February 2012 at around 2pm for trying to see them and photograph the hand injury and bruising. The nurses refused to let me see my relative and said they didn’t want to see me yet when I got home later there was a message on my phone from my relative asking me to visit, so I went back up at 6pm as the nurses wouldn’t let me in until then. I was not allowed to take a photo of their swollen broken hand and bruising to their face and arms, when I eventually saw them at 6pm 4 February 2012. The bruising was due to restrained face-down on 1 February 2012 in the ward by 3 nurses....
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