NHS Tayside has drafted in outside experts to help redesign mental health services amid claims non-clinical managers are ignoring medical advice when making decisions.
Healthcare Improvement Scotland was called in to assist with the review of mental health services.
A public consultation has been launched on Tayside’s acute mental health inpatient wards, with the Mulberry Unit at Stracathro to be closed in favour of Carseview in Dundee as health chiefs seek to centralise inpatient services.
Officials argue the move is crucial because a shortage of junior doctors could put staff and patients at risk.
One whistleblower said the HIS report had raised “significant concerns regarding the decision-making process” within NHS Tayside’s mental health services.
Specifically, it is claimed non-clinical managers make decisions that “do not align” with the advice being given by medical staff.
They added: “An internal review team has been established to determine whether there is evidence. This should be the role of an investigatory team and leads staff to believe this is a whitewash.”
A spokesperson for Healthcare Improvement Scotland said: “We were proactively approached by NHS Tayside and asked to provide support to address issues they had identified in general adult psychiatry.
“We are working closely with them to develop a prioritised action plan to address the key issues identified and we are committed to providing appropriate support to help ensure that improvements take place.”
Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership chief officer Robert Packham said: “Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership and NHS Tayside made the decision to work jointly with Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) as we prepare to include clinical staff and managers in planning improvements in services.
“HIS is an external body that supports continuous improvement across NHS and social care services in Scotland.
“HIS will provide us with independent advice and support as we redesign mental health services.
“They have already provided some feedback following initial conversations with out staff.
“Further sessions planned for September and October will involve clinical experts and managers to refine the improvement plan.”
“Changes in the improvement plan will be implemented to ensure we can continue to deliver high quality, safe, effective, person-centred mental health care for the people of Tayside.”