The chairman of NHS Tayside has raised concerns with police about drugs use in a crisis-hit mental health unit.
John Brown also announced a review of how restraints are used across NHS Tayside following a TV documentary that claimed patients at the Carseview Centre were being mistreated because of their inappropriate use.
Mr Brown said: “I have now seen the BBC report on the Carseview Centre and I remain very concerned about the claims made by the patients and family members featured in the programme.
“As a board, we are addressing the concerns raised and actively investigating the patient experiences which have been shared with us.”
Mr Brown added he visited Carseview on Tuesday to speak to patients and staff about their experiences and the health board has now set up a dedicated email address for people who wish to share their experiences of the unit.
Mr Brown said: “It is important to say that our staff do work very hard and we are ensuring they have all the support they need to be able to deliver the best care for our patients. However, the claims must be investigated and that is our priority.”
He said NHS Tayside is taking a number of immediate actions in response to the documentary, including a review of the data on restraint used across mental health services, including in the Carseview Centre, to better understand when and how different types of restraint are used. There has also been a formal meeting with police to discuss the concerns relating to people bringing drugs into Carseview.
Mr Brown added: “The ongoing independent inquiry will obviously play a critical role in ensuring that the experiences of patients, families and staff are heard so that we can learn lessons and improve our services.
“However, we as a board also really want to hear from patients and their families and, therefore, we have set up a dedicated email point of contact for people to get in touch to share their experiences at email@example.com
“The independent inquiry will be ongoing for a number of months but that will not stop us taking any necessary actions now and continuing to make improvements to our mental health services. Improvement action plans are already under way following recent reviews by the Mental Welfare Commission and Healthcare Improvement Scotland and we will be accelerating these plans, where possible, to make sure we can make changes more quickly.”
Mr Brown also rejected calls to close the Carseview Centre. He said: “There was a statement made on the BBC report that Carseview should be closed. The Carseview Centre has 80 beds, with 1,100 patient admissions a year and it is a critical facility for our population in Tayside.
“I believe that by strengthening the leadership team and continuing to support staff, alongside what we learn from the ongoing work and outcome of the independent inquiry, we will address the concerns raised and make further improvements to ensure we can deliver the best outcomes for patients.”
NHS Tayside has appointed Professor Keith Matthews as associate director for mental health services to oversee the redesign of mental health services while David Strang will chair the independent inquiry into the Carseview Centre.
Scottish Government mental health minister Clare Haughey said: “I will be expecting an early update from NHS Tayside on their investigation and the action they intend to take.”