We en­dured the same heartache, suf­fered the same fail­ures and we want the same thing...real change

Be­reaved women unite to call for bet­ter pro­tec­tion for at-risk pa­tients

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS - By Han­nah Rodger HRODGER@SUN­DAY­POST.COM

Two women be­reaved by sui­cide have forged a bond as they fight for changes to health ser­vices to bet­ter pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble pa­tients.

Karen McKe­own and Gil­lian Mur­ray met af­ter the Sun­day Post told how Karen’s part­ner took his own life de­spite re­peat­edly ask­ing for help.

Luke Hen­der­son died on De­cem­ber 29, 2017 af­ter eight at­tempts to get help from NHS La­nark­shire in less than a week.

Gil­lian Mur­ray’s un­cle David Ram­say also took his own life two years ago to­day, af­ter he was told to go for a walk and pull him­self to­gether by med­i­cal staff at NHS Tay­side.

He had been re­jected for treat­ment twice at the psy­chi­atric unit at Ninewells hospi­tal in Dundee, where an in­quiry is un­der way into a se­ries of se­ri­ous con­cerns. Both Luke and David’s cases were raised in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment by MSPs, and Karen met the men­tal health min­is­ter Clare Haughey on Thurs­day, although says she left feel­ing dis­ap­pointed.

The mum-of-two said: “I ap­pre­ci­ate that the min­is­ter lis­tened to me, but that is re­ally all she did. I don’t want sym­pa­thy, I want ac­tion, an­swers. Smil­ing and nod­ding your head just isn’t good enough.”

Karen was joined by MSP Mon­ica Len­non dur­ing the 30-minute ses­sion.

The MSP has vowed to con­tinue to push for an­swers on Luke’s case and both Karen, from Mother­well, and Gil­lian will cam­paign to de­mand a na­tional in­quiry to help es­tab­lish stronger safe­guards for vul­ner­a­ble, po­ten­tially sui­ci­dal pa­tients.

Karen and Gil­lian think the Tay­side in­quiry should be ex­tended to cover the whole of Scot­land. Karen said: “This isn’t just hap­pen­ing in one place.

Gil­lian and I are cov­ered by two health boards and very sim­i­lar prob­lems hap­pened with our rel­a­tives.” Gil­lian added: “I know there are prob­lems hap­pen­ing all over Scot­land, that’s why we want an in­quiry na­tion­ally.”

The Scot­tish Govern­ment said: “The tragic death of Ms McKe­own’s part­ner is cur­rently un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by NHS La­nark­shire. A key ac­tion in our new sui­cide pre­ven­tion plan is to en­sure we learn from ev­ery death by sui­cide and en­sure lessons are acted on.”

Karen, above on left, and Gil­lian have vowed to fight for bet­ter care af­ter the deaths of Luke, left, and David, right

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