13 June 2018

S5M-12706 Mental Health

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Christine Grahame): The next item of business is a debate on motion S5M-12706, in the name of Alex Cole-Hamilton, on health.

... ... ...

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

Alex Cole-Hamilton’s motion says that the

“hard-working staff do not have the resources and support that they require to deliver the service that they would wish”.

I beg to differ. I agree with Anas Sarwar, who said that it is the patient who matters. Therefore, my entire speech simply quotes from the Care Opinion website. All three cases come from the previous week and cover all Scotland.

The first comment is about Aberdeen royal infirmary:

“I attended A&E during a mental health crisis. From the start, reception staff were really patient and understanding. I got seen in triage by Gail and, her manner with me was just fantastic. She genuinely listened to me and didn’t make me feel like I was a burden or anything.

Due to the way I was feeling and the state I was in, I was kept in A&E to see the psychiatry team. In A&E whilst I was waiting, another nurse, Bethan was looking after me. I appreciated just the small things—giving me some juice and a biscuit, listening to what I had to say.

I was in A&E for about 3 hours and, in that 3 hours they didn’t fix everything but, they gave me somewhere safe when my thoughts were too much and a plan. I can’t really ask for much more.”

Alex Cole-Hamilton: Will the member take an intervention?

Stewart Stevenson: We will hear from patients; we have heard from politicians.

The comment continues:

“I know a lot of the A&E nurses from various admissions with self harming but, Gail and Bethan did an absolutely amazing job when I needed it most”.

A kiss—an X—then follows.

The second comment, which was made this week, is about Crosshouse pharmacy services:

“My son who has Aspergers Syndrome and mental health issues.

“His medication leaked in his bag on Sunday. If he misses a dose of medicine his mood can change considerably. It is normally a special order prescription, I rang my local pharmacy who had none in stock.

I then phoned the pharmacy at Crosshouse Hospital and spoke to a very helpful pharmacist, Ailsa, she phoned round a number of community pharmacies and found one which had it in stock, making sure that I knew exactly where it was. I can’t express strongly enough how grateful both my son and myself are for this excellent service.”

This is what someone in the south of Scotland had to say last week:

“I suffer with depression and anxiety (which can be pretty severe)”

They said that they had

“suicidal thoughts and feelings (which are present every single day) and at times become overwhelming”,

and went on to say:

“What I would like to say about the Crisis Team is how I feel they really are in a league of their own when it comes to Mental Health Services. It was during my first experience of using the service that one nurse in particular said a few words to me in a moment of such mental and emotional pain, with such compassion and conviction, that someone felt my life, me, had value, to know that someone out there was ‘hoping’ for me because I couldn’t.

A nurse from the team would visit me every day for around the next 10-14 days ... the crisis team are a team of very special people”

Of course there are challenges in mental health. I have experienced suicide in my family, so I know that perfectly well. However, there are good stories, too, and let us not demean our staff by pretending that there are not.


Stewart Stevenson
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