Scottish Labour leader pledges ‘change in culture’ at Carseview even if probe fails

Richard Leonard
Richard Leonard

The Scottish Labour leader has vowed to keep the pressure on NHS Tayside to bring about a “change in culture” at Carseview if an ongoing investigation fails to do so.

Richard Leonard met last week with families of those who died by suicide after seeking help from the unit.

He spoke with Gillian Murray, whose uncle David Ramsay died in 2016, and Mandy McLaren, whose son Dale Thomson died in 2015.

The pair, who were mentioned in Mr Leonard’s speech at the Scottish Labour conference on Saturday, also met UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking to the Tele, Mr Leonard said the families were “concerned” that the inquiry wouldn’t lead to the overhaul they hoped for.

He said: “They have a view that there needs to be a profound change at Carseview that goes beyond changing the name of the facility. They feel there needs to be a change of culture.

“They don’t want other families to go through what they have gone through. They want mental health services in Tayside that are fit for purpose and that are meeting the needs of this community.”

NHS Tayside has been consulting on changes for Carseview ahead of relocating major regional mental health services to the unit.

Among the proposals to fix its image are a name change, with Recovery Point, Wellview, the McHope Centre and “something Discovery-related” put forward.

Meanwhile, the independent inquiry chaired by former prisons inspector David Strang is considering the hundreds of submissions it has received from the public, NHS staff and other bodies.

Mr Leonard added that he had spoken to “all too many people” who had been turned away from Carseview.

He said: “The review is something we welcome, but I am absolutely keen to ensure we keep that dialogue going. If there are ways we can help, if there are pressures we can put on, we are more than willing to do that because this is not just an issue for Dundee or Tayside – it is an issue for all of us.”

Mandy told the Tele: “We don’t want this inquiry to just sweep things under the carpet.”