Saturday, 31 January 2015

Reblog: 'Apology from Healthcare Improvement Scotland' Dr Peter J Gordon, Hole Ousia

Reblog: 'Apology from Healthcare Improvement Scotland' Dr Peter J Gordon on his Hole Ousia blog:

On the 30th January 2015 an apology was received from the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Scrutiny & Assurance for Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Here is my reply of thanks:


Read Hole Ousia blog post


Friday, 30 January 2015

Broughty Castle view: a wee movie with photies now & then - my first go at film producing!

Filmed on 27 January 2015 with the assistance of my son Angus.  Photos of family and familiar places. 

I had planned to spectate at Scottish Parliament that day in the Robert Burns Room to hear the Sunshine Act Petition being discussed but instead headed north to spend time with my son Angus, in Broughty Ferry, by Dundee.

Too much wind blaw and castle repair noises so I took off the sound, replaced it with music track and photos spliced between scenes. Great fun to do and useful practice.

Daydream Believer track from the Monkees, 1968 release:

it's time for Scottish Government to join up the dots and get the job done

This morning I had to chase up some money again so that I wouldn't be out of pocket for too long, after doing a task as an "expert by experience" in mental health matters.  The reality in Scotland for anyone trying to be "meaningfully involved" in sharing stories of recovery, resilience and resistance.  It just doesn't pay, in monetary terms.

There is a lack of joined-up working which has its root in government, in my opinion and from what I've witnessed.  A top-down affair.  Where the mental health division of civil servants write strategies and documents that are words on paper with limited resource to back them up.  Commitments and HEAT targets which seem out of reach and unachievable, from the offset.

This is where Scottish Parliament government ministers should come in and get the civil servants telt.  Hold them to account.  For the sake of the public, the people who pay their wages.  But they don't, in mental health.  There is a slackness there and a neverending rope on which the tasks dangle, held loosely.  Out of reach of the common people.

I got involved in Scotland's mental health world in January 2008 and it was only 6 months or so before finding myself out of step with the other protagonists.  As usual I ran on ahead with tasks, setting up systems and achieving outcomes.  (I was 55 and no spring chicken)  There were attempts made to hold me back, to exclude me, to bring me into line.  But I resisted.  And so became the odd one out.  The scapegoat.

Then I got involved in national groups from the psychiatric survivor perspective.  A variety of settings, from crisis to clinical psychology to cross party groups at Scottish Parliament.  Plus the national meant-to-be mental health service user led organisation VOX.  But that engagement didn't last long before I was cast out into the nether regions.  Told to Shut Up and Go to Bed.

Seven years later and here I am still.  Been there, done that, served my apprenticeship, now 62 and counting.  Excluded by many, bullied and intimidated by quite a few.  Family members targeted by psychiatry.  It forced me into writing so as to have a voice and not be silenced.  So be it.  

Further materials:

Filmed by social reporter Rosie at the Stronger Voice event in the Discovery Point, Dundee, on 9 October 2014:

My blog post: Sunshine Act for Scotland Petition Goes Before Parliament Committee a Third Time 23 January 2015.

Hole Ousia blog post by Dr Peter J Gordon: A Sunshine Act for Scotland 29 January 2015.

First wee 57s film by me, unedited, capturing the moment on my new Canon EOS, at Broughty Castle, by Dundee, on 27 January 2015.  Didn't take a mic so some background wind noise.  I had planned to spectate at Scottish Parliament that day in the Robert Burns Room to hear the Sunshine Act Petition being discussed but instead headed north to spend time with my son Angus:

Thursday, 29 January 2015

social movements are from the grassroots, rising up, collective action - "recovery movement" another top down affair

Another Email sent this morning to the See Me Scotland Director, copied in to various "others" and forwarded on to a few:

"I feel compelled to write to you about the strapline "Building a Social Movement".  Because it's an impossible task.

For we can't "build" a social movement.  It's an organic thing that happens by osmosis.  A grassroots uprising.  As a result of various factors, a collective enterprise involving natural leadership and seeds of discontent.

I was checking out Oxfam Scotland, your previous employer, and notice some of their straplines:

"Speaking out is powerful.  It can change minds and influence decision makers."

"... so when injustice causes poverty, we stand against it"

"We know people have the power to change their lives and the lives of those around them.  All they need is a little help."

I agree with all of these statements and it's how I behave as a writer, activist and campaigner in Scotland's mental health world.  It was the same when I was a community development worker in Lanarkshire then in Fife and Perth, before I entered the twilight zone in January 2008, by getting on board with the "recovery movement".  Another top down affair.  Although I didn't know it at the time, having believed the blurb about peer support being a civil rights movement.  Which it is, but not in Scotland.  Rather it is a government arm with Penumbra on the right wing.

For seven years I have tried to be meaningfully involved in mental health matters, collectively and on a level playing field.  But it's impossible because the powers that be will not allow the real experts by experience to have a voice or to be heard.  We are sequestered or patronised or excluded or scapegoated.  Pushed into "Write to Recovery" by the SRN cronies.  While empires are built and people are promoted to the level of their own incompetence.  Just like in the real world of statutory and government agencies.

Anyway these are my thoughts on the See Me strapline and looking back over my time in the trenches.

Yours sincerely"

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Email to @seemescotland - Re: Building a Social Movement Workshop - apologies - I'm too busy

Email just sent to See Me Scotland, after receiving information about their Building a Social Movement Workshop which I'd put my name down for, a while back, thinking I might be able to thole it:"

Apologies for this event.  All the best on the day.

I am too busy working for psychiatric system change to attend this workshop. 

I really don't need to be lectured in the history of social change by academics who teach rather than do.  I have to be honest.  All talk and no action gets my goat.

I am hoping that eventually Scotland's anti-stigma programme and the £1.5million a year will actually get to the roots of it all.  To the heart of the matter.  Targeting the real culprits.  Rather than scratching the surface and attacking grannies who speak out.


I was doing this type of thing back in the early 1980's.  Grassroots community development work, in South Lanarkshire.  Setting up projects in response to need, along with other mothers and activists, helped by statutory workers.  I cut my teeth on it, back in the day.  And have worked at it ever since.

Empowerment.  Lifelong learning.  Mothers leading.  Youth and children's work.  Committees, steering groups, action plans, minutes, exit strategies.  Fundraising, minibus driving, facilitating groups, delivering training.  

Here's a taster of settings and jobs in 1980's: Scottish Pre-School Playgroups Association, Strathclyde Youth Clubs Association, Douglas Water Primary School, Lanark Grammar School, Rigside Church, Adult Literacy Development Worker, Clydesdale Play Association, After-School Club/Playscheme Leader, Visiting housebound elderly.

And so on, broadening the scope, gaining qualifications, from then until now.

"you going to this?" asks carer friend re Launch of Fife MH Services, Support in Mind Scotland. No "I'm banned"

Because of my role as an unpaid carer, a psychiatric survivor, mother, writer, activist and campaigner I sometimes get people writing to me, sharing their stories.  They identify with what I write as they have experienced the same.  Getting blamed.  Bullied.  Silenced.

Although I'm not bound by confidentiality, being that no-one pays this piper to call a tune, I am not in the habit of revealing my sources in case they get picked on, a familiar experience if speaking out.  It's a matter of mutual respect. 

And so I received an Email this week from a fellow mother and carer who has a son in the psychiatric system, asking if I was going to the launch of Adult Mental Services in Fife (think the health got missed out but Mental is a good word for it), a Guide for Relatives and Friends. 

"you going to this?" she asked

"I am banned from all Support in Mind Scotland services, anywhere in Scotland.

But thanks for letting me know."  says I

my tweets after watching #SunshineAct for Scotland petition being discussed on @ScotParl video 27 January 2015

Video of Public Petitions Committee meeting 27 January 2015, discussion about Sunshine Act for Scotland Petition PE1493, 43 minutes in.

Kenny MacAskill MSP

See blog post from 23 January 2015: Sunshine Act for Scotland Petition Goes Before Parliament Committee a Third Time

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

letter of congratulation sent to Paul Gray, head of NHS Scotland

Paul Gray (Daily Record 26 January 2015)
Email letter sent this morning to Paul Gray, Director General Health & Social Care and Chief Executive NHS Scotland:

"Dear Mr Gray

I am writing to offer my congratulations.  On successfully managing to drag a mother's name through the muck and getting away with it.

I have decided not to take my complaint against Geoff Huggins, your assistant, to the Ombudsman.  It took me 30 months to successfully mount a campaign against NHS Fife, in respect of my son's "unreasonable treatment" in Stratheden Hospital.  For which I received a one sentence apology, grudgingly given, by the acting chief executive of the Fife health board.

My reputation is not that important.  The opinion of you and your team of civil servants, regarding my character, motivations and behaviour, does not matter that much to me.

I believe in natural justice.  Therefore I will continue to speak out and to defend my cause.

Yours sincerely,

Yvonne Strachan (SEN peer review)
Chrys Muirhead (Mrs)

cc all the people involved in my complaint against Geoff Huggins, including civil servants, government ministers and those who were included in the initial abusive Email, plus the people who took sides with an uncivil servant against me"

Yvonne Strachan, Head of Equality, Human Rights and Third Sector at Scottish Government, investigated my complaint against Geoff Huggins, and here is Ms Strachan's final report

Extracts from the Report:

pages 5 & 6
page 6

page 9

Monday, 26 January 2015

Music: High Girders from 'Day Job' by Ed Muirhead & The Banter

My oldest son's track from forthcoming album Day Job due for release 1 May 2015:

"In 1879 the world's longest bridge collapsed, plunging a crossing train into the icy water below. Seventy-five people perished as a storm brought down the high girders in the middle of the Tay Bridge. 

Did the train come off the rails? Was the bridge too weak to withstand gale-force winds?

Telling the tale of that fateful night, "High Girders" is new from Dundee songwriter Ed Muirhead, a century on from McGonagall's infamous poem.

Late December, seventy-nine,
Dundee train, northbound line.
River Tay, a mile from land
High girders stand.

Storm is fierce, night is wild,
Front of the carriage: father and child.
Side by side, hand in hand,
High girders stand.

Lead me, be my guide.
Take me o'er to the other side.
When it's dark I cannot see,
Stay here with me.

Since Burntisland all is well.
Pace is steady, none can tell
In the darkness miles away
High girders sway.

Train steams on into the night
Boy holds to his father tight
How much longer none can say:
High girders sway.

Late December, seventy-nine,
Dundee train, northbound line.
Storm bears down upon them all
High girders fall."

from Day Job, track released 16 November 2014
Gav McGinty: Harmonica
Ed: Piano, vocal, drums, bass
Piano & vocal recorded by Chris Marr at Dundee University
Drums recorded by Harris at DM Studio
Photo: National Library of Scotland:

'In personal consideration of the 3 R’s: Resilience. Resistance. Recovery.' in DCP-Scotland Review

'In personal consideration of the 3 R’s: Resilience. Resistance. Recovery.' in DCP-Scotland Review, Issue 11, Winter 2014/2015

Thanks to Simon Stuart, Editor of the Division of Clinical Psychology, Scotland, Review, for inviting me to submit this piece to the Winter 2014/2015 edition, Issue 11. I had written it in the first place for Scottish Recovery Network but they don't accept "non-commissioned work". 

Simon Stuart had noticed me tweeting about the piece being rejected (didn't mention by whom) and expressed an interest. I appreciated the communications with Simon and that my piece as written was published. No editing. A welcome relief. I don't like being edited. 

My article on pages 11-14:

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Reblog: 'NHS Boards are not following existing guidance' by Dr Peter J Gordon #SunshineAct

Dr Peter J Gordon: 'NHS Boards are not following existing guidance' on Hole Ousia blog, 24 January 2015:

"The Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament are to meet on Tuesday 27th January 2015 to give further consideration of my petition for a Sunshine Act, PE1493. I lodged this petition in September 2013.  What follows below is the full transcript of a letter of update to the Committee:

Friday, 23rd January 2015

To: Sigrid Robinson
Assistant Clerk
Public Petitions Committee
The Scottish Parliament

Dear Ms Robinson Scottish Parliament Public Petition PE1493 on a Sunshine Act for Scotland

Thank you for informing me that my petition is to be considered by the Public Petitions Committee at its meeting on Tuesday 27th January 2015.

You suggested that I might like to make a short written submission for the meeting of the Committee informing me that this would be published online with the other evidence that the Committee have gathered for Petition PE1493.

Before I offer a brief summary, a year on almost to the day from my last written submission, I would like once again to thank the Committee, and supporting staff, for continuing to explore how the people of Scotland might benefit from a Sunshine Act.

I understand from your communication of the 20th January 2015 that the Committee, “despite numerous reminders,” has received no response from the Scottish Government. I am disappointed to hear this, particularly as the summary produced by the Scottish Government, in their letter of 17 April 2014, would appear to demonstrate wide failings in NHS Scotland’s Compliance with HDL (2003) 62. Given these failings, in December 2014 I contacted all 14 regional NHS Boards for further clarification and in the hope of progress. I have so far had reply from only 2 NHS Boards.

NHS Forth Valley and NHS Tayside now have a central register of interests for all staff. Both have now made these registers publicly accessible.

NHS Forth Valley: the current register includes the names of only 7 staff and all the other entries are by designation only. NHS Forth Valley’s register is therefore not complete in that it does not consistently identify individual staff. The Director of Education for NHS Forth Valley, confirmed last year in writing that he was “not aware” of HDL (2003) 62. The Director of Education also confirmed that Forth Valley’s “learning Centre” has no budget that pays for educational meetings”.

NHS Tayside: is the only other Health Board to reply to my recent request for an update and provided the public link to their Register. The register begins in 2011 and records 16 entries, and each without any identifying name. Ms McLeay, Chief Executive, stated in her reply of the 30th December 2014 “I agree that this public record of sponsorship is not complete and accurate at this point”.

NHS Lothian: I have had no reply to my recent communication on HDL (2003) 62. The situation as recorded in FOI reply from NHS Lothian dated 6th May 2013 stated: “There are no other [apart from Board members] centrally held registers available within NHS Lothian and any such register would not necessarily identify payments to staff”.

NHS Greater Glasgow: I have had no reply to my recent communication on HDL (2003) 62. Following my original FOI request (before I lodged this petition in September 2013) NHS Greater Glasgow attached a register that covered 5 years and had entries for 27 separate employees. NHS greater Glasgow is the largest health board in the United Kingdom, serving 1.2 million people and employing 38,000 staff. This NHS Greater Glasgow register for “all staff” is not available to the public.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran: have promised to reply to my recent communication on HDL (2003) 62 stating that “turnaround times are proving challenging”.  NHS Ayrshire and Arran stated in June 2013 “discussions are ongoing to create a register to encompass the whole organisation … we are in the process of updating our Model Publication Scheme to include this register which will be published on our public website.” I can today find no such register (other than for Board Members only) for NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

NHS Lanarkshire: I have had no reply to my recent communication on HDL (2003) 62. However previously (15th May 2014) Dr Iain Wallace, the Medical Director for NHS Lanarkshire, wrote to me stating: “I can advise that it is not the intention of NHS Lanarkshire to publish a register of interests for all staff”.

NHS Grampian: I have had no reply to my recent communication on HDL (2003) 62. However in relation to my original FOI request, I was informed in July 2013: “…no such register is maintained and therefore a copy is unable to be provided to you….In all of the circumstances therefore, NHS Grampian is unable to provide a register to meet your requirements.”

From the 6 other regional NHS Boards I have had no reply to my recent communication on HDL (2003) 62. I have not made further contact with the 7 special NHS Boards since my original FOI request. My understanding however is that HDL (2003) 62 applies equally to the special boards.

To remind the Committee, here is the relevant section of HDL(2003) 62:


On the 17th May 2014 the Herald reported: “The Health Secretary has asked officials to urgently investigate why some NHS boards have not put in place registers as covered by the 2003 circular. Alex Neil believes the guidance is clear that this action should have been taken, and we are looking for clarification on why some boards have not acted.”

  1. HDL (2003) 62 was issued 12th December 2003. It is more than a decade old. It asked Chief Executives to “establish a register of interest for all NHS employees and Primary Care Contractors.”
  1. The Scottish Government summary of the 17th April 2014 demonstrated widespread failure to comply with HDL(2003) 62. The updated evidence I have managed to gain indicates reasons to be more rather than less concerned.
  1. I have found no evidence, in any register of any sort, of declarations from “Primary Care Contractors”.
The Committee may recall that before I had submitted oral evidence for the petition the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) submitted a letter to the Committee. The ABPI plan to develop what they term a “Central Platform”: from the 1st July 2016 the intention is to collect and record data of individual payments to healthcare practitioners and record these on an open database. It is important to note that healthcare practitioners will be able to opt-out if they do not wish payments to be disclosed.

The General Medical Council (GMC), in reply to the Petition Committee confirmed that a “compulsory register would require legislative change.” This week the GMC sent this reminder to medical practitioners:

GMC Jan 2015 CoI

Despite reminders, NHS Boards are not following existing guidance. This strategy has failed for more than ten years. The disappointingly slow response of the Scottish Government to communication from the Committee only highlights the failure of the current approach. This strengthens my view that a new law would be a better way of focusing minds on a matter that may be having a significant impact on Scotland’s health. I would remind the Committee that I was first prompted to look into this when considering the widespread, off-label over-prescription of antipsychotic medications for Scotland’s elderly people. My experience was that the Pharmaceutical Industry financially supported the “education” of healthcare practitioners in this approach.

I hope this update is of some assistance to the Committee ahead of the 27th January 2015.  I wish to say that I am very grateful to the Committee members, and supporting staff, for all your help.

Yours sincerely, Dr Peter J. Gordon

Full correspondence on NHS Registers of Interest can be followed here


The above post is by Chrys Muirhead. It can be accessed here. I have also re-posted it below ...

my "brain surgery for mental illness" comment on 'Lowlights of Royal College of Psychiatrists' conference' Critical Psychiatry blog

'Lowlights of Royal College of Psychiatrists' conference' post on Critical Psychiatry blog and my comment:

"Yes Dr Double, I agree with your strapline and go further in criticism of the push to do anterior cingulotomy or ACING as a valid treatment for the drugs and ECT not working.

The Dundee Advanced Interventions Service:
are spearheading this work, under the leadership of Prof Keith Matthews, ably assisted by his colleague Dr David Christmas, whose MD Thesis I have devoted a whole page to on my main blog:

I am planning to work my way through Dr Christmas's 431 page thesis doing a critique from the psychiatric survivor perspective. 3 blog posts done so far and I've hardly got past the abstract and introduction.

My latest post, Wednesday past, has title: "going back to the abstract @dchristmas (the first cut is the deepest)", where I look at the research targets, the 28 people over a 14 year period who were subject to ACING or ACAPS (the capsulotomy version not now done in Dundee).

What bothered me was the two patients who had things go a bit wrong, a haemorrhage during and a seizure after the surgery. A risky business. And I'm not hearing any voices of patients in the writing, as yet. What made them ask for it? Was it all the attention that made a difference.

I know of one woman who had the ACING, wrote a book about it, how she had an amazing recovery (Life After Darkness), 2004/5 time, Cathy Wield, doctor by trade. And then in 2012/13 the suicidal depression came back, worse than ever. She said the ECT worked this time around, done in Aberdeen, plus the prayer and support from her church. Here is my blog post about it, with links:

I have great concerns about the focus on the brain and fiddling among the grey cells. Looking in the wrong place for the cause of "mental illness" as I see it. They need to look at the whole person, body, mind, spirit/soul, call it what you like. The bit about us that asks "why are we here? what is the point of it all?". The existential angst common to anyone with a thinking mind and brain."

Friday, 23 January 2015

Sunshine Act for Scotland Petition Goes Before Parliament Committee a Third Time

In Scotland petitions are a direct way for people to raise national issues with their Parliament, a request for action.  Dr Peter J Gordon, consultant psychiatrist, first lodged a petition on the Scottish Parliament website, PE01493: A Sunshine Act for Scotland, 29 September 2013:

"Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to introduce a Sunshine Act for Scotland, creating a searchable record of all payments (including payments in kind) to NHS Scotland healthcare workers from Industry and Commerce."

Peter J Gordon is a man of many parts: a qualified doctor and landscape architect, husband and father, a family man whose interests include philosophy, sociology, ethics, evidence-based medicine, neuroscience, horticulture, sculpture, poetry, local history,  photography and film-making.  He writes on Hole Ousia (whole being) and has 269 films, at the latest count, on Omphalos.  

On 12 November 2013 the Public Petitions Committee at parliament took evidence from Dr Gordon in respect of his Sunshine Act for Scotland petition.  (See video, 25 minutes in)  Here is part of my comment on the video, now disabled but on my Google+ profile

"The points about the marketing potential of education versus scientific objectivity demonstrate the need for regulation of drug industry payments, or in kind rewards, made to or received by health care professionals.  To hear the figure of £40million gifted by drug companies to UK health workers and about £4million of that going to Scottish workers is quite astonishing.

Herald Scotland article 13 November 2013 'Doctor calls for drug payments register'.

In addition to petitioning Scottish Parliament, Dr Gordon has been diligently raising Freedom of Information requests in respect of Registers of Interests in every Scottish health board area.  Scottish Government brought out a directive, NHS Circular HDL (2003) 62, instructing health boards to set up Registers of Interest so that staff could declare payments from pharmaceutical companies.  For the sake of transparency.  The health boards have not been complying with this government call to action. 

Herald Scotland article 17 May 2014: 'Urgent review as nearly half of health boards ignore pharma disclosure rule', and quote "The Health Secretary has asked officials to urgently investigate why some NHS boards have not put in place registers as covered by the 2003 circular. Alex Neil believes the guidance is clear that this action should have been taken, and we are looking for clarification on why some boards have not acted."

On 18 May 2014 the Herald Scotland Editor gave his support for the Sunshine Act petition and greater transparency, saying "Simply hoping that NHS Boards enforce existing guidance is a strategy that has failed for more than ten years.  A new law would be a better way of focusing minds on this important matter."

Nearly a year to the day after Dr Gordon gave his evidence, on 11 November 2014, his Sunshine Act petition was considered by the Public Petitions Committee at its meeting in the Robert Burns Room of Scottish Parliament.  

I was there to hear the proceedings, punctuated by a Remembrance Day commemoration in the Garden Lobby of parliament at 11am, and then at around 12 noon the topic came up.  It took two minutes mention of contacting Scottish Government to ask about the NHS Circular HDL (2003) 62 (Registers of Interest) progress.  My thoughts?  Swingball.  Pass the buck.  See blog post I wrote following the meeting.  

On Monday this week a notification arrived to say that Dr Peter Gordon's petition will be considered, again, by the Public Petitions Committee on 27 January 2015 in the Robert Burns Room of Scottish Parliament.  Meeting starts at 10am and the agenda item containing the Sunshine Act should start at around 11.15am, subject to change.  I have booked a ticket and plan to observe the proceedings from the Public Gallery.  Live broadcasts can be viewed at this link.  Videos after the event here plus links to business papers and reports.

I am hoping this time around in the Rabbie Burns room for more than 2 minutes worth of talk and no direct action.  A Sunshine Act for Scotland makes sense economically and ethically.  Doctors in their drug prescribing should be free from conflicts of interests.  The pharmaceutical industry is primarily a money making concern.  Patients deserve to know that their medical treatment is for them and not for profit.

"While Europe's eye is fix'd on mighty things, 
The fate of Empires and the fall of Kings; 
While quacks of State must each produce his plan, 
And even children lisp the Rights of Man; 
Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention, 
The Rights of Woman merit some attention."

Robert Burns, The Rights of Woman, 1792 

(thanks to Liam for highlighting this poem from the Bard)

Thursday, 22 January 2015

*please note proxy voters should attend the EGM only (VOX additional information)

[forwarded on to me by a VOX member]

Therefore if anyone is proposing to be a Proxy Voter at the VOX AGM you will only have 30 minutes to speak out.  Then the bouncers will appear (joke).

Scots Proverbs and Rhymes from 1948 (a bit of light relief)

Thanks to Daniel son for finding this wee gem in a Cupar charity shop yesterday.

From the Introduction:

"Although many nations of the ancient and medieval world were noted for their wealth of proverbs the Scots had a pre-eminent reputation in this respect.  It was said in England that no Scot could talk without using a proverb.  The Scots thus held, until comparatively recent times, this reputation for terse and sententious language and they were exceptionally reluctant, even after the Union in 1707, to abandon their ancient modes of thought and speech."  F.M.

Some examples taken at random when leafing through the book:

239. Weel kens the moose that the cat's oot o the hoose

174. Put twa pennies in a purse and they'll creep thegither

47. Be aye the thing ye would be ca'd

205. The loodest bummer's no the best bee

260. Ye'll be a man afore your mither (little boys were often promised this)  

ever decreasing circles

Something happened yesterday by chance which demonstrates perfectly the circular nature of Scotland's mental health world.

I found out that a carer who had approached me to advocate on her behalf because of patient safety issues, in Stratheden Hospital, last September.  To which I responded, listening, giving them the benefit of my connections, raising awareness, contacting people, highlighting the issue, making a difference.  Well, they work for government, in health, leading, in a role with Joint Improvement Team, Scotland.

An organisation which is accountable to Geoff Huggins, Acting Director for Health and Social Care Integration, who I raised a complaint about in June 2014 because of his bullying behaviour towards me in an Email.  Mr Huggins wrote in response to my speaking out about being excluded from Scottish Patient Safety Programme events nationally.

It seems that I am providing a public service with none of the perks, privileges or position that goes with the job.  I am unpaid, unemployed and unappreciated, by Scottish Government senior civil servants.  Who are getting away with excluding and bullying a mother and unpaid carer.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

my "smoke and mirrors" comment on Herald article 'Scotland leads groundbreaking dementia research'

My comment on Herald article 15 January 2015: 'Scotland leads groundbreaking dementia research' by Helen Puttick:

"I agree with Mr Smith from Sheffield (previous commenter) that we are born, we live and then we die. And that Pharma drugs can exacerbate health issues, particularly in psychiatric and mental health treatment. I wouldn't recommend swallowing trial drugs if you have anything better to do with your time. A very risky undertaking as some of these drugs will have serious side effects for some of the people swallowing them. And you won't know if you are one of the unlucky ones. Until it's too late. 

The saying goes that "Those who can, do; those who can't teach.". I would bear this in mind when considering the claims of the academics at Edinburgh University: "If some of the drugs are not proving to be effective people will be taken off them and put on those which are seen to be effective" It sounds a bit too much like smoke and mirrors gobbledegook rather than scientific sense."

"ongoing development of drug candidates or drug combinations"

going back to the abstract @dchristmas (the first cut is the deepest)

[Part 3: Dr Christmas MD Thesis

From p18, xviii:

I woke up this morning determining to do another post on Dr Christmas's 471 page thesis before getting caught up in other mental health matters with a critical voice.  So I traversed the Table of Contents and Lists then the Abstract on my way to the Introduction where I had been before, for the second blog post.  A few things caught my eye.

The research investigated 28 individuals, it doesn't state the male/female divide, over a 14 year period which averages out at 2 a year.  I was checking out the reports on the Advanced Interventions Service website to see how many people are now getting ACING (anterior cingulotomies) on average per year.  However there are only recent reports since 2010.  (they seem to have stopped doing the anterior capsulotomy or ACAPS)

In 2011 there were 6 ACINGs while in 2010 there was one.  2012 there were 3, 2013 there was one although 5 were Planned.  Statistics only tell us so much.  I note there was one "formal" complaint in 2013 "the complaint was related to aspects of assessment and the patient did not progress further down a neurosurgical pathway".

Getting back to the thesis Abstract and it says that "seven individuals underwent a subsequent ACING".  In other words they got brain surgery twice for mental illness.  In laywoman's language.  Very risky in my opinion.  Especially since I've never believed in the mental illness construct which is pinned on a person when the treatment doesn't work.  They tried to pin it on me.  

Another quote from p18:

This paragraph doesn't reassure a non-scientific person such as I.  "Clinically significant" according to Jacobsen & Truax: "A statistical approach to defining meaningful change in psychotherapy" which is what I came up with when searching definitions on the internet.  A bit like going round in circles.  

I'd like to hear from the voices of those who underwent the ACING, twice.  Why did they ask for such an invasive treatment when the cause of the "mental illness" was to do with challenging life situations and trauma?  Drug treatment and ECT not working.  Why would destroying brain tissue be any better a solution?  Is it about faith in science rather than a belief in yourself?

And finally, for this blog post, from Dr Christmas's thesis Abstract:

Is it good enough that no-one died among the 28, as a recommendation that anterior cingulotomies or ACINGs are an effective treatment for whom the psychiatric drugs and ECT don't work?  What about the 2 out of the 28 who had the seizure and the haemorrhage, respectively?  Don't they matter in the scheme of things?

I'd like to hear the stories from the people who went through the experience.  I suspect that the attention they received, the rigorous testings, the many appointments, the relationships formed and the time spent keeping an eye on them was what really mattered rather than the couple of hours of brain surgery.  


A favourite song of mine at present from a Sixties Album I received from my son for Christmas:

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

VOX Scotland proposal to delete Clause 63: Board Directors having to stand down after 6 years, EGM, 7 February 2015

VOX Scotland (Voices of Experience) Clause 63: 

"A person who has served as a director for a period of 6 years shall automatically vacate office on expiry of that 6-year period and shall then not be eligible for re-election until a further year has elapsed"

Yesterday I was forwarded a VOX Email from 3 different people, about the Extraordinary Meeting and the Special Resolution, Clause 63, to be held on 7 February 2015 in the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow. 

The letter attached said:

"As stated in the Memorandum and Articles of Association in order to pass a special resolution it must be passed by members representing not less than 75% of the total voting rights of eligible members.

Also within our Memorandum and Articles of Association, it notes for the avoidance of doubt, the reference to a 75% majority relates only to the number of votes cast in favour of the resolution as compared with the number of votes cast against the resolution, and accordingly no account shall be taken of abstentions or members absent from the meeting."

In other words the member has to be there to cast a vote.  However a member can nominate a proxy to attend in their place.  

I am happy to attend this VOX EGM as a proxy voter, if you are of the NO persuasion.  I think it makes sense to keep Clause 63.  Six years is more than enough for any person to be on the Board.  Please do let me know if you want me to be there in your place?

There is also mention of the topics "capacity, insight and diversity" to be discussed.  I have an opinion on these and would be prepared to speak out, adding my voice of experience to the mix.