A heartbroken mum has told NHS bosses to “hang their heads in shame” over mental health care.
Amanda McLaren’s son Dale Thomson took his own life after being discharged from Carseview psychiatric unit in Dundee.
At a heated meeting this week, she confronted NHS Tayside chairman Professor John Connell as Health Secretary Shona Robison looked on.
At the health board’s annual review, held in St Paul’s Academy in Dundee, Amanda said: “Mental health in Tayside is a disgrace.
“Have you been to Carseview and seen what goes on? You should hang your heads in shame.”
She said children and young people have to wait too long for help.
Challenging Connell directly, she added: “I would like to know what you would do if your child was sitting there crying or hurting itself?
“Do you think being seen in 18 weeks is good?”
In a 2015 Daily Record exposé called Save Our Sons, we told how Dale, 28, killed himself after being discharged from the Carseview Centre.
A fatal accident inquiry into Dale’s death was adjourned last week and will resume in September.
We told how health watchdogs raised concerns about the unit in a report in July 2014.
They highlighted a lack of beds and staff, high absence rates due to stress among the unit’s crisis team, patients being released too soon and internal concerns not being acted on.
Responding to the criticism, Connell said he regularly visited Carseview.
He added that 94 per cent of patients with mental health problems do not require inpatient care but there were issues “in relation to how NHS Tayside manage three inpatient sites”.
Robison, who chaired the meeting, said more psychiatric services should be delivered in the community through primary care.
She said: “There will always be people who become unwell and need inpatient care but for those who don’t, what is important is ongoing support. There needs to be a shift of resources to develop these services, particularly in Angus. People need to see progress.”
Dundee-based Labour MSP Jenny Marra said similar claims had been made at the last annual review and demanded to know what is being done to find the additional savings needed.
Connell said providing safe patient care remains a priority and reducing spending was not like “turning off a tap”.
●The number of young people with mental health problems being treated in non-specialised wards has fallen by more than 40 per cent, from 135 to 71, the Mental Welfare Commission report has found.