Dr David Strang.

Perth group reviews damning inquiry into mental health across Tayside

A highly critical report on NHS Tayside’s mental health services has had its first public airing.


Members of Perth and Kinross’s Integration Joint Board gathered to discuss the findings from Dr David Strang’s 16-month independent inquiry into mental health services across the region earlier this month.

The board is responsible for inpatient mental health services in Tayside.

Dr Strang identified scores of changes that need to be made urgently and said a radical redesign was needed to repair a “breakdown of trust” between management, staff and the public.

Chief officer of Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership Gordon Paterson said NHS Tayside will take the recommendations “very seriously” and bring forward an action plan on each of the 51 points.

However, members of the IJB said it was important that they did not respond in haste and that to come up with solutions straight away would not be “showing the report the respect it deserves.”

Perth and Kinross Council’s chief executive Karen Reid stressed that other important priorities for the health and social care partnership would not be neglected.

She said: “Whilst it is really important that we co-create, it’s also really important that we still continue. We can’t have a standstill. It’s about making sure services are safe and compassionate and getting people the best possible service.”

Ms Reid said that wheels were already in motion to deliver an action plan.

“A lot of work has already happened and we are not starting from a blank sheet of paper,” she added.

Perth and Kinross IJB chairman councillor Eric Drysdale said: “We have a full report and we need to listen and treat it with respect.

“My role is to reflect the thoughts of all members of the board.”

The NHS Tayside board will consider the findings at its public meeting on February 27.

Dr Strang’s report , published last week, called for a “fundamental redesign” of mental health services based on a new culture of trust and respect and said the “most striking lack of governance” was the absence of a mental health strategy.

It also highlighted the need for improvements to referral systems, communication, and support for junior staff and an assurance that bullying “is not tolerated anywhere in mental health services in Tayside.”

Dr Strang, a former prison inspector and chief constable of Lothian and Borders Police, launched the inquiry in September 2018 following campaigning by bereaved families.

In his report, he concluded: “The challenges facing mental health services in Tayside have not just arisen in recent years, they are of a long-standing nature.”