Wednesday, 15 July 2015

"very happy to acknowledge that my involvement has not been at Stratheden Hospital" says MSP Liz Smith (& my response)

Liz Smith MSP web page
I wrote to my regional MSP this morning 15 July 2015, about the Courier article 'MSP demands full T in the Park review, claiming “public safety was compromised” in move to Strathallan', saying:

"This is commendable.

However as a mother and carer who has had to singlehandedly campaign about the human rights abuse that was going on in Stratheden Hospital's IPCU, to patients, and to my son in particular, in February 2012, I am very unhappy that you haven't been so concerned about the safety of psychiatric patients in your regional constituency.  

For years they were using a locked seclusion room with no toilet, no water to drink, light switch outside, to "manage" the patients.  I won an Ombudsman's case against NHS Fife in September 2014, after 30 months of complaining.  Scottish Government awarded £4.4 million to NHS Fife to build a new IPCU.  My son and I got nothing in the way of compensation for the abuse.  Although attempts were made to blame me for it all.

For your information, I will be standing as an independent candidate at the next Scottish parliamentary elections, May 2016, in NE Fife and in the Mid-Scotland and Fife region.  So as to have a voice in parliament for people who have been forcibly and dehumanisingly treated in psychiatric settings, for unwaged carers and for parity of esteem between physical and mental health services.

I am copying my own MSP Rod Campbell and Dr Richard Simpson MSP into this Email.  Mr Campbell has taken an interest in my case, has written letters on my behalf and met with me.  He has visited Stratheden Hospital on a number of occasions and he has listened to what I have had to say.  Which is much more than can be said about you and some of the other regional MSPs.  Apart from Dr Simpson MSP who has spoken out in parliament on mental health matters for many years and will unfortunately be retiring next year.  I am sorry to see him go."


Ms Smith responded, saying:

"Thank you for your email.

I am sorry you believe that I have been inactive on psychiatric care issues which, is not, in fact, at all accurate. However, I am very happy to acknowledge that my involvement has not been at Stratheden Hospital."

This response from Ms Smith I found to be both patronising and dismissive so I replied:

"Ms Smith thank you for responding.

I am not sure why you are "very happy" to acknowledge your lack of involvement at Stratheden Hospital.  That is nothing to be proud or happy about.  In my opinion.  I think it demonstrates arrogance and a patronising attitude.

The point I made was about Stratheden which is in your regional area.  Decades of psychiatric abuse.  Nothing for anyone to be proud of.  Particularly if you have been a public servant as long as you have, since 2007.  

I notice that you have responsibility within your party for Education and Lifelong Learning.  I suggest therefore that you get up to speed about ALL the psychiatric and mental health settings in the area for which you are an MSP.  For the sake of patients and their carers.

My professional and experiential background is community work, for over 30yrs.  In a variety of settings.  Having been born and raised in Perth, a pupil at Perth Academy in the 1960's, like my mother and father before me.  Qualifications in Community Education and FE Lecturing, care subjects.  I was always a grassroots development worker, in South Lanarkshire, Fife and Perth workplaces.

In my opinion, a person like me who has experienced grassroots activism, living on a low income and living in a council house scheme, would be well suited for standing as a regional MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife.  For after all there are many more people now on the breadline especially now with the Tories in power, pushing austerity.  I voted for independence at the Referendum and want to see home rule because I think it would be fairer for Scotland.  Rather than getting the worst of it from a government which takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

My father worked in London, as a sci-fi writer with the Daily Express, 1956-69, died there in 1986.  I like the capital but it is far removed from our Scottish way of life.  We are a nation of storytellers, singers, creatives, entrepreneurs and thinkers outside of the box.  For too long we have played second fiddle.  Which is OK for a time. 

Regards, Chrys"

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