Friday, 13 March 2015

Letter to Dr Richard Simpson MSP: "Mental Health (Scotland) Bill debate - (your) disappointing performance - lack of insight and capacity"

from Scottish Parliament website
Here is a letter just sent in an Email to Dr Richard Simpson MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, in response to his performance yesterday at the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill Stage One debate in Scottish Parliament, at which I was a spectator in the public gallery:

Strapline: Mental Health (Scotland) Bill debate - disappointing performance - lack of insight and capacity - remember the victims of psychiatric abuse

"Dear Dr Simpson

I am writing to let you know that I was disappointed with your performance yesterday at the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill Debate, Stage One, in Scottish Parliament, where I was a spectator in the public gallery.

You are an MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, where I have lived for 25 years.  You are also a GP and psychiatrist by profession, and therefore should be aware of the situation in Stratheden psychiatric Hospital where they have been using a locked seclusion room for generations, to "manage" patients.  This has resulted in vulnerable people being locked in for hours at a time, no toilet or drinking water, light switch outside, in the dark, through the night.  

I did not hear you speak out at the debate about the unreasonable treatment of psychiatric patients in Stratheden Hospital.  You said nothing about the mental health act safeguards not being implemented properly or monitored effectively.  Although I did hear other MSPs mention this in a general sense and by implication.

My youngest son was locked overnight in the Stratheden IPCU seclusion room for hours on end, unobserved, broken hand untreated, in February 2012.  Prior to this he had been assaulted by a staff nurse in the Lomond Ward and face-down restrained. He has had 3 collapsed lungs and is asthmatic.  His life was at risk. 

My son was forced to defecate in the IPCU cell when no staff appeared to let him out for the toilet through the night, and then was forcibly injected with 25mgs Haloperidol until he would "voluntarily" swallow the drug.  Sub-human treatment.  The RMO Dr Bill Dickson, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, told me that people without capacity don't require advocacy.  I set the doctor straight about this, that advocacy is a safeguard and a right for all, and then advocated for my son whenever he asked me to, representing my son's views at clinical meetings in the ward.

I heard you speak twice yesterday about mental patients assaulting staff, victims of homicides.  What about the people who have killed themselves after psychiatric inpatient treatment at Stratheden Hospital?  Escaped from the hospital and thrown themselves on to the railway tracks at Springfield or into the sea at St Andrews, to be washed up on an English beach?  I did not hear you mention these victims or their families.

You may be in a tricky situation as both a psychiatrist and government minister at mental health debates.  Whatever.  I thought that your performance yesterday lacked insight and capacity, in understanding the perspective of a person who has been subject to forced drug treatment and psychiatric abuse.  

I hope that you might consider my critical feedback and that this may impact positively on your future practice.

I am copying others into this Email and will put the letter into a blog post, in the interests of transparency,

Yours sincerely,

Chrys Muirhead (Mrs)"



  1. I'm sure Richard doesn't receive any money at all from drugs companies.I'm equally sure he'd like to clarify that point. Claire here.

    1. Claire here is a link to Dr Richard Simpson's Register of Interests on the Scottish Parliament website:

      There is mention of a family holiday home in Fife, jointly owned, but I see no mention of links with drug companies. Although there is a declaration about an expenses paid lecture visit in Italy through in 2013:

      "From 8 - 10 May 2013 I attended and gave a guest lecture at the Global Addiction and EUROPAD Joint conference 2013. The costs of the visit (£975 for travel and hotel accommodation) were met by EUROPAD (the European society for professionals interested in the development of effective opiate addiction treatment in Europe and elsewhere, of AU-CNS, Via XX Settembre, 83, 55045 Pietrasanta (Lucca), Italy). [Registered 7 June 2013]"

    2. Upon further investigation I have found that Dr Richard Simpson did used to have links with pharma companies.

      In a copy of this Standards Committee 5th Report 2001: Report on Complaint Against Dr Richard Simpson MSP:

      15. "Dr Simpson's entry in the Register of Members' Interests also includes reference to `occasional medical consultancy work with pharmaceutical companies' ..."

      In this report it mentions remuneration from "Merck, Sharp and Dohme Limited related to prostate and urology issues".

      However the complaint was not upheld:

      "3. In the light of these factors, the Adviser has concluded that Dr Simpson had no reason to judge that his registrable interest with Merck, Sharp and Dohme Limited would have prejudiced or have given the appearance of prejudicing his ability to participate in a disinterested manner in the proceedings of the Parliament in relation to the MMR vaccine."

    3. And here is the link to the Herald Scotland article on 28 June 2001, stating that Dr Simpson was found not guilty of breaking any rules:

      'MSP cleared of breaching code':

      "But after an investigation it was determined that Dr Simpson's financial relationship with Merck, Sharp and Dohme related to prostate and urology issues, and not to the MMR vaccine."


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