In­de­pen­dent in­quiry re­ceives hun­dreds of writ­ten sub­mis­sions

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS -

The in­de­pen­dent in­quiry into Tay­side mental-health ser­vices is to ramp up its in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter re­ceiv­ing hun­dreds of pub­lic sub­mis­sions.

In­quiry chair­man David Strang has re­vealed he and his team have re­ceived more than 200 writ­ten sub­mis­sions af­ter is­su­ing a call for ev­i­dence on Septem­ber 5.

Of those, 50 were sub­mit­ted within the first week.

In ad­di­tion, more than 50 re­quests to give ver­bal ev­i­dence have been re­ceived since the call for in­ter­views went out on Oc­to­ber 1.

So far, 24 in­ter­views have been car­ried out.

The in­quiry will now look to be more “proac­tive” in its ap­proach to as­sess­ing men­tal­health ser­vices in the re­gion, ac­cord­ing to Mr Strang.

In­quiry mem­bers in­tend to meet health­care work­ers such as doc­tors, stu­dent nurses and psy­chol­o­gists in the new year in an ef­fort to build a more com­plete pic­ture of Tay­side’s ser­vices – both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive.

Mr Strang said: “It’s been quite pas­sive on our part, so far, so we now have a plan to be more proac­tive.

“It feels to us a re­spon­si­bil­ity be­cause peo­ple are look­ing for­ward to our con­clu­sions.”

The in­quiry was set up af­ter sev­eral sui­cides of peo­ple who had used Tay­side mental-health ser­vices. Rel­a­tives of a num­ber of peo­ple who took their own lives are con­tin­u­ing to press for a full pub­lic in­quiry.

The in­quiry is op­er­at­ing in­de­pen­dently of NHS Tay­side and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment – but NHS staff are be­ing asked for their views.

NHS Tay­side is con­tin­u­ing to pur­sue a pre-planned shake-up of its mental-health ser­vices while the probe con­tin­ues.

Chair­man John Brown said: “Since we com­mis­sioned the in­de­pen­dent in­quiry, we have al­ways said that one of the most crit­i­cal parts of the work was en­sur­ing that those peo­ple with real, lived ex­pe­ri­ences of mental-health ser­vices would have a strong voice.

“I’d like to thank the al­liance on be­half of the board for lead­ing this work.”

Pic­ture: Kris Miller.

In­quiry chair­man David Strang.

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