NHS bosses reject claims by Stratheden patient’s mum

Stratheden Hospital, near Cupar.
Stratheden Hospital, near Cupar.

Top bosses at NHS Fife have robustly challenged claims by an angry mother who says her son was mistreated while a patient at Stratheden Hospital near Cupar.

Last week we reported how the board was told to apologise to 29-year-old Daniel Muirhead and his mother Chrys after a health watchdog ruled that the hospital’s treatment of Daniel had been ‘inappropriate.’

It was alleged that staff had dragged him from one ward to another while he was wearing only underpants and that he was not given access to food, water or toilet facilities while he was in seclusion.

Daniel, who is now in better health, was admitted to Stratheden in 2012 suffering from depression.

However Dr Brian Montgomery, chief executive of NHS Fife, said the board disputed Ms Muirhead’s version of the events that led to the involvement of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

“The health board has engaged extensively with Mrs Muirhead regarding her stated concerns and we would firmly challenge the version of events presented thus far,” he said.

“At all times the primary concern of the psychiatric staff was the safety of both Mr Muirhead and other patients.

“NHS Fife considers that the reporting of this matter does not fully reflect the full set of difficult circumstances faced by its staff on this occasion, nor does it reflect the full terms and findings of the SPSO letter that was issued in response to the complaints made.

“Whilst it has been reported that Mr Muirhead was moved between wards in his underwear, it should also be noted that the volatile nature of the situation required that there was an immediate need to evacuate Mr Muirhead to a place of safety. Similarly, we do not accept that Mr Muirhead was left without access to food, water or sanitation at any time, and was monitored frequently throughout to ensure his wellbeing.

“We would once again highlight that the single recommendation made by the Ombudsman is that NHS Fife apologises to Mrs Muirhead with respect to the failings identified in relation to the seclusion of her son, which we will comply with.”