A mental health campaigner is cautiously optimistic after NHS Tayside outlined its plan to overhaul the flailing service.
NHS Tayside published its draft action plan on how mental health treatment will be improved after a damning report from Dr David Strang found a litany of problems earlier this year.
The draft plan pledges to put people at the “heart of services”.
Mandy McLaren has been campaigning with other bereaved families for an improved service since her son Dale Thomson took his own life after treatment in Carseview in 2015.
She said this is the first time there is a feeling change could be on its way, but says there are still problems within the service.
Working with people living with mental health conditions will be a “key and critical” element of the transformation, the report states.
A mentally healthy workforce has also been deemed as paramount.
More than half – 62% – of mental health employees who responded to a survey said that staffing levels were a problem on wards.
One respondent said: “Due to savings targets, vacancies are not filled but we are expected to deliver the same levels of service, despite growing demands of service.”
A third had also witnesses or experienced bullying, with bullied staff being “ignored” by management.
“You don’t feel you have a voice”, one said.
The health board insists they will create a “value based culture change” and all staff will be offered an exit interview.
They will also canvass workers to co-create a “service strategy”.
The report states: “Mentally healthy staff and mental health wellbeing of staff will also feature in our work alongside the need to consider culture, leadership, kindness and compassion to develop and deliver the local strategy.”
One of the key recommendations from Dr Strang was to ensure that reviews into adverse events is “understood and adhered” to.
To do this, a ‘system wide adverse event learning forum’ has been established, with about 100 professionals from across Tayside attending its first two meetings.
Grant Archibald, NHS Tayside chief executive, said: “No matter how many actions we put into a plan, we must focus on those with lived experience first and foremost.”
Ms McLaren said: “It all depends on them delivering it.
“I am still getting messages from people receiving treatment who say they aren’t being listened to.
“I know personally how things can be put down (during an assessment) that are not factual. I feel there has got to be a way for the person, or a carer, signing off on what is being written about them.
“But to be fair to this board and to Grant Archibald, they have been including us in the conversations and seem to have the right attitude.
“I am always cautious, but there is some hope now.”