A Tayside councillor who sparked fury by claiming an independent review of mental health “screwed” NHS plans to improve services has offered to meet the families of suicide victims to explain his views.
Perth and Kinross representative Crawford Reid, who once chaired the Fair City’s health and social care partnership (HSCP), caused upset with his views on the Independent Inquiry Into Mental Health Services.
Ahead of an NHS board meeting last month he suggested the inquiry had set back NHS Tayside’s planned mental health shakeup by two years.
However, it was his remarks that the inquiry – which had been called for by the families of those who had died after engaging with psychiatric services – had been a “knee-jerk” reaction by health chiefs which caused the most upset.
Dr Reid, a retired anaesthetist, has offered to make reparations after he was criticised by Mandy McLaren and Gillian Murray for coming across as insensitive and attempting to dispel blame.
He said: “I am sorry if I upset (them). I would be more than willing to meet them to explain why I made these comments.
“The last thing I wanted was to cause either of them more upset.
“I am aware from personal experience just how devastating suicide is.
“I just want mental health services to be fit for purpose, and for that to happen, significant consultant recruitment must happen as a matter of urgency.
“Unfortunately, this does not seem to be happening – perhaps I am missing something.”
Following a near-two-year investigation, the Independent Inquiry, chaired by ex-prisons boss David Strang, issued 51 recommendations, which NHS Tayside has pledged to uphold in full.
Dr Reid added: “‘Screwed’, on reflection, was perhaps not the best choice of word.”
Gillian Murray, who lost her uncle David Ramsay to suicide in 2016, has welcomed the offer, adding: “Credit where it’s due, that is decent of him.”
Mandy McLaren, mother of the late Dale Thomson, says she will take up Dr Reid on the opportunity.
She said: “I want him to realise that his comments really affected us.
“We want people to get the help they need and if he had really done his homework he would have seen how bad this is.”