A Fife woman who has spent much of the last two years in Stratheden Hospital has defended the mental health unit where a distressed patient was locked up without access to food, water and toilet facilities.
She insisted staff gave patients the best care and treatment they could and that it is unfair to suggest the Springfield hospital, run by NHS Fife, is unfit even for animals.
She also voiced fears that people with mental health problems facing admission could be terrified into taking their own lives by reports of the treatment of former patient Daniel Muirhead, who soiled himself after being left unsupervised.
Despite a Scottish Public Services Ombudsman investigation finding that Daniel’s treatment was unacceptable, the Glenrothes woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I have never seen anyone neglected in that way.”
Daniel’s mother, Chrys Muirhead, claimed he was “dehumanised” when he was dragged between wards in his underwear and left for hours in a seclusion room in the intensive psychiatric care unit (IPCU). She said the hospital was terrible and she “wouldn’t put a cat or a dog in there”.
The patient who contacted The Courier said: “We get well looked after, the nurses work really hard and my doctor is absolutely amazing.
“If people read things like this they could end up killing themselves because they are worried they are going to get treated like this. Stratheden Hospital already has a stigma because of what it was like years ago.”
Suffering from a personality disorder, the woman said she was admitted to Stratheden numerous times over the last two years and had been restrained by staff.
She said: “I have been in ward four, the IPCU, and I have never seen anyone put in the seclusion room and not allowed to use the toilet or not fed. The staff would never do that.
“It is a last resort for a nurse to restrain and sedate someone and if you are put in the seclusion room, it is for your own safety and the safety of others. They give us the best care and treatment they can.”
NHS Fife has apologised to the Muirhead family for Daniel’s treatment.