Publication date: 23 Aug, 2023
Introducing the Commission’s external meeting - where the key speaker was Maree Todd, minister for social care, mental wellbeing and sport - Mr Riddell listed a range of major initiatives* that are currently underway in Scotland and said that while these could be seen as daunting to services that are under pressure, this was a perfect opportunity for change.
The public needs tangible reforms
Sandy Riddell said:
“These shifting sands of reform will require strong leadership and effective practice to translate our shared ambitions into tangible improvements.
“Rather than see it as a negative force, let’s use this as a perfect opportunity for us all to re-focus and re-prioritise what we do and the ways we do it, in ways we’ve been advocating for years.
“I very much want to see some early progress. We need to reassure the public that we mean business, that they have been listened to, and that change will happen this time. Shared ambition and good intentions do not improve services – the public needs tangible reforms”.
We keep in very close contact with how individuals are experiencing their care, and how services are delivering that care
Speaking at the same event, Julie Paterson, chief executive of the Mental Welfare Commission, highlighted the Commission’s work over the last year and said the organisation was ready to do more.
Julie Paterson said:
“We are an independent organisation that protects and promotes the human rights of people with mental illness, learning disabilities, dementia and related conditions.
“Last year we took around 4,000 calls for advice from individuals, families, psychiatrists, social workers ,mental health nurses and others. Those calls sought help on issues related to individual cases, best practice in care and treatment, and mental health and social care laws in Scotland.
“We made 140 visits to local services and to individuals across the country and made over 500 recommendations for improvements. We undertook detailed investigations into complex cases.
“All of this work keeps us in very close contact with how people are experiencing their care, and how services are delivering that care.
“We will do all we can to try to uphold people’s rights, including the rights of carers, and we would welcome any additional powers - such as those recommended by the Scottish Mental Health Law Review – that would help us drive forward improvements in care and treatment.”
*Major initiative currently underway in Scotland include the Scottish Mental Health Law Review; Scotland’s new dementia strategy; improvements in health care in prisons, the mental health scrutiny and assurance review; the independent review of inspection, scrutiny and regulation; the on-going implementation of the suicide prevention strategy, and ongoing work to establish a national care service.
The meeting took place in Edinburgh, with attendees from across Scotland’s mental health and social care sectors and representatives from legal, academic and third sector organisations. Kathleen Taylor, engagement and participation officer at the Mental Welfare Commission, also spoke at the event about the role of unpaid carers.