Wednesday, 12 November 2014

"Oral evidence to Health and Sport Committee - I would like five minutes" Email sent yesterday evening to MSPs

Here is an Email I sent yesterday evening to a large group of about 50 people, in response to an Email from a fellow unpaid human rights activist.  The recipients included a host of MSPs, some of whom are on the Health and Sport Committee at Scottish Parliament, considering the evidence for the Mental Health (Bill) Scotland:

"...... thanks for your Email.  I agree with what you say and would like five minutes.

I attended Scottish Parliament today as a spectator and unpaid carer at the Public Petitions Committee and sat for two hours, silently, waiting for the Sunshine Act for Scotland Petition to be considered.  When it came up on the agenda the recommendation was to write to Scottish Government about the Registers of Interest and the NHS Circular HDL (2003) 62, to get an update.  Therefore as yet we have no Sunshine Act and no transparency regarding the links between doctors and drug companies in Scotland.

When at parliament today I saw people I knew from Scotland's mental health world, in paid positions, who were going to give evidence to the Health and Sport Committee.  In fact I knew all of the representatives' names on the list from the Mental Health Network Greater Glasgow, SAMH, the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance, The Alliance, The Carer’s Trust and Inclusion Scotland.  Many of them people I have worked alongside on initiatives or at meetings.  The only difference is that they were paid and I wasn't.

Since 1980 I have been a grassroots community development worker in Lanarkshire, Fife and Perth, some of it paid, much of it voluntary, and I remember it as a level playing field, whether paid or not.  However since getting involved in Scotland's mental health world in 2008, setting up Peer Support Fife, voluntarily, and then having to give up paid work to support my sons in and out of psychiatric settings, it has been anything but level, equal or fair. 

I would have been far better off, financially and reputation wise, if I had stayed in paid work and allowed the state to take care of my youngest son, locking him up in medium or high secure psychiatric accommodation.  It's happened to other young men in Fife.  Anything from £4000/week upwards in cost to NHS.   Let's do a calculation from April 2012 when my son was discharged and imagine that instead of coming home to me that he went into Orchard Clinic or the State Hospital (as mentioned by the RMO).  Let's say 130wks x £4000 = £520,000. 

And eventually back out "in the community" he would require daily support from a housing association and a social worker and a CPN etc.  Whereas we got no support except for occasional meetings with a psychiatrist where I supported my son in tapering the Haloperidol, within 5 months, which was forced into him in the Stratheden IPCU, in the locked seclusion room which had no toilet, no drinking water, light switch outside.  My son has been disabled by the system.

As a reward for advocating for my son and challenging his treatment I was accused in the Fife Council Adult Protection Investigation report of causing my son "psychological harm".  I was badmouthed in the hospital records so as to justify their "unreasonable treatment".

Despite all this unfairness and injustice I kept up the campaigning, spoke out and eventually had my complaint against NHS Fife upheld by the Ombudsman, 32 months after first raising a complaint, receiving the letter a day after my 62nd birthday, at the end of September 2014.  Yet still I am not permitted to give evidence in person at the Health and Sport Committee in Scottish Parliament.  For five minutes.

Disheartened, Chrys"

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