NHS Tayside will take “immediate action” to address concerns raised in a BBC documentary about patients’ treatment at the Carseview Centre.
Health board chairman John Brown said he was still “very concerned” about the claims made in Monday’s 30-minute Breaking Point report.
It featured a number of past patients and families making allegations against practices at Tayside’s largest mental health unit.
They included claims patients were mocked or violently restrained face down for long periods of time, and that illegal drugs were available in the unit. It has led to calls for it to be shut down.
Mr Brown said he had seen the programme and had since visited Carseview to talk to staff and patients.
He said: “It is important to say that our staff do work very hard and we are ensuring they have all the support they need to be able to deliver the best care for our patients. However, the claims must be investigated and that is our priority.”
NHS Tayside also announced it was taking immediate steps to address concerns. They include a review of the data on restraint used across mental health services, to better understand when and how different types of restraint are used. Mr Brown will also meet Police Scotland to discuss illegal drugs at the centre, with a view to launching a new initiative.
The board has also appointed Professor Keith Matthews as associate medical director for mental health services, to strengthen the leadership team. The appointment follows the announcement of David Strang, the former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, as chairman of the independent inquiry into Tayside’s mental health services.
Mr Brown added: “The ongoing inquiry will obviously play a critical role in ensuring the experiences of patients, families and staff are heard so that we can learn lessons and improve our services.
“However, we also really want to hear from patients and their families and we have set up a dedicated email point of contact for people to share their experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I believe that by strengthening the leadership team and continuing to support staff, alongside what we learn from the ongoing work and outcome of the independent inquiry, we will address the concerns raised and make further improvements to ensure we can deliver the best outcomes for patients at Carseview.”