Once more Reporting Scotland’s hyena pack goes for the oldest ‘Wildebeest’, NHS Tayside


I haven’t put speech marks around the word ‘hyena’. This morning, Reporting Scotland, playing at being brave big game reporters fed greedily on the corpse of an internal NHS report fed to them by one of their moles in the opposition parties abusing the confidentiality of the committee they are supposed to be assisting and not stabbing in the back. If an SNP MP was to do the same for some Westminster committee, you’d hear the howls. Is it the role of a self-described public service broadcaster to spread anxiety around its viewers or to wait and to report informatively when the ‘internal’ report is published or even, to leave it alone if publication would be harmful to the greater good?

Further, as in yesterday’s report on breast cancer treatment, in Dundee, Reporting Scotland show callous disregard for the fears of other patients or for the morale of hundreds of good staff.

This morning at 06:28am:

 ‘A leaked document that shows that a mental health unit in Dundee was pinning patients to the floor too often and for too long in the most dangerous position with untrained staff. The internal NHS report into the Carseview Centre was commissioned in response to the BBC Scotland documentary last year which exposed potentially life-threatening restraints on patients.’

The report has not been leaked to TuS, so I can only assume it’s the same ‘whistle-blower’ evidence from one patient and their relatives, which we saw in the BBC ‘documentary’ last June. When I get to see it, I’ll be ready to tackle the picture pained above of ‘patients’ being pinned.

After the BBC ‘documentary’ was aired, we read in the Daily Record:

‘NHS staff have been offered counselling to cope with the trauma of watching a BBC documentary criticising an under-fire mental health unit.  Experts have been put on standby to support doctors and nurses at the Carseview Centre, in Dundee , who may be adversely affected by the hard-hitting programme.


Here’s what we had to say in June 2018:

After a quiet spell, BBC Scotland has returned to its proxy war strategy against the SNP using exaggerated and distorted tales of problems within NHS Scotland. They tend to be insensitive stories but the latest is particularly so, using anecdotal evidence from only 24 patients who approached them directly out of the ‘hundreds’ treated annually in Tayside’s Carseview unit.

Here’s the essence of the scare story, developed into a ‘documentary’ and repeated regularly:

‘An MSP has called for a Dundee mental health unit to be put into crisis measures following revelations in a BBC Scotland documentary.  Former patients at Carseview told the Breaking Point programme they were pinned to the floor and bullied on wards where illegal drugs were rife. Dundee-based Labour MSP Jenny Marra said the allegations were “horrifically worrying.”’


The documentary lacks the qualities of any good documentary relying entirely, as it does, on recollections from a very small self-selecting sample of often-traumatised patients, who have come forward, and the partisan comments of an opposition politician. Given the often-traumatic life-threatening nature of mental health conditions and the difficulty in treating sometimes terrified patients, mistakes will be made by staff with the best of intentions. As for the intentions of the BBC Scotland reporters, we’ve learned to suspect them.

There is, of course, reliable evidence to suggest that the reported incidents which, of course, must be investigated, are not representative of the unit or of the majority of its staff. The Review of Adult Mental Health Services in Tayside on 7–9 December 2017 by Healthcare Improvement Scotland found no major concerns of this kind at all. The full report can be read at:


Health Improvement Scotland is independent and has previously demonstrated its rigorous and critical approach resulting in fearless condemnation where it is required. See, for example, this on Aberdeen Royal Infirmary:

Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) warned of “widespread disengagement” of medical staff and “unprofessional conduct” by senior doctors. It also criticised a “dysfunctional surgical unit” and failures in performance management and in addressing earlier concerns highlighted by the General Medical Council (GMC).


and this:

‘Inspectors have ordered a health board to tighten procedures after badly stained mattresses were found on wards at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride.’


During the Review of Adult Mental Health Services in Tayside, HIS spoke with:

  • patients
  • ward staff
  • community-based staff
  • health and social care staff
  • senior managers
  • operational managers, and
  • community managers.

Why is there nothing in the report comparable to that in BBC Scotland’s coverage?

HIS noted areas where adult mental health services in Tayside are performing well:

  • Staff we spoke with were well motivated with a recovery-focused and person-centred approach to care.
  • The senior management team appeared to be cohesive, with a view to provide high quality care to patients whilst reviewing challenges in relation to finance and resourcing. Staff told us that leadership was clearly visible in the ward areas.
  • Many of the community mental health nurses were following independent practice and critical thinking and were involved in high levels of decision making. This was reflected in the number of charge nurses (Band 6) and senior charge nurses (Band 7) in post. These community mental health nurses also had the opportunity to develop their skills further.
  • The ‘mental illness partnership project’ between NHS Tayside and Police Scotland was a good example of inter-agency working. We were told that over 75 police officers have received training from mental health professionals to help them provide support to people in times of need.
  • The crisis resolution and home treatment team was organised and well resourced. There were clear and established processes for collecting meaningful data to enable the team to make informed decisions to improve the quality of care they provided.

HIS noted areas where adult mental health services in Tayside could make improvements:

  • With regards to ensuring that clinical staff maintain the necessary knowledge and skills to deliver high quality care, we were told NHS Tayside is developing a training strategy that reflects both current need and considers future demands aligned to the Transformational Nursing Agenda. This is a national approach reflecting how nursing, as a profession, will need to evolve including consideration to the development and professional positioning in an integration Health and Social Partnership context. We acknowledge that the partnerships have significant challenges in recruiting and retaining psychiatrists, however we were told that efforts are being made to establish posts that offer clinical and academic combined opportunities.
  • There was inconsistency with regards to psychiatric consultants. High numbers of locum psychiatrists are employed in the inpatient facilities and community areas. We were told that this has been challenging for staff and those who use the services. Patients told us that they were frustrated by the number of different psychiatrists they were in contact with. This can cause problems in building therapeutic relationships and trust.
  • The consistent use of locum psychiatrists has reduced the opportunity for medical learning and minimised the opportunities for medical leadership to evolve.
  • Although the general environment in the Carsview Centre was good, improvements and adjustments could be made. Making adjustments will ensure patients are cared for in a less restrictive environment, whilst ensuring appropriate levels of safety and encouraging recovery.
  • There was an inequity of service for patients who live in Angus. For example, patients in this area do not receive 7-day intensive home treatment support. In some instances, patients have had to be admitted to hospital as no support was available at the weekend. This could also have an impact on the support needed by patients when they are discharged from hospital.
  • The Angus health and social care partnership should review their current provision and consider a 7-day service for patients in Angus.
  • Psychiatrists and junior doctors did not document risk assessment details or contribute to patients’ care plans. This could weaken the consistency of care approach or interventions.

Plenty there for a real documentary?




6 thoughts on “Once more Reporting Scotland’s hyena pack goes for the oldest ‘Wildebeest’, NHS Tayside

  1. Michael Brown April 18, 2019 / 9:22 am

    I did hear that report on the radio this morning and thought, here we go a pop at NHS Tayside again

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tom Crozier April 18, 2019 / 10:22 am

    It must be the easiest job in the world to be a BBC journalist/broadcaster or an opposition politician with absolutely no responsibility for what they say or do.

    I have often reflected on how difficult it must be to work in the health service in any capacity. Any mistake becomes a serious personal issue for the person or family suffering. But mistakes happen – we are all human. I worked in business for years and made mistakes but the world did not come to an end; no-one suffered.

    There always seems to be an arrogance in people with no responsibility and lack of awareness in how pathetic they are when they criticise others doing jobs they could not even start to handle

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Gerry Robertson April 18, 2019 / 10:40 am

    Just watched the infamous ‘London calling’ documentary again if only ‘to sharpen by claws’ but even if I wasn’t passionate about my country and Independence I would find it very difficult to reconcile my conscience with working for the BBC. I suppose there are lower ways to make a living but this come pretty close.


  4. Ludo Thierry April 18, 2019 / 5:21 pm

    Meanwhile HMRC seem to be as hopeless at recouping tax revenues from curious beeb Scotland employee tax arrangements as they are at raising even minimal taxes from the oil majors operating in the Scottish Sector. Bet the Norwegian equivalent of HMRC would be closing down all these curious tax arrangements in the blink of an eye. Link and snippet below: (Nice wee earner that Kaye has found herself with beeb Scotland ain’t it? – my thanks to a post on Wings alerting us to this strange situation)


    Loose Women presenter Kaye Adams has triumphed over HMRC, which demanded £124,441 in PAYE and NIC from her personal service company on the basis that IR35 applied.

    The dispute concerned two contracts with the BBC to present a series of programmes on Radio Scotland in the periods 16 March 2015 to 31 March 2016, and 4 April 2016 to 31 March 2017. HMRC had also raised assessments under the IR35 rules in respect of income from contracts operated in 2013/14 and 2014/15 but effectively dropped the tax demands for the earlier years just before the tribunal hearing.

    The tribunal concentrated on the written contracts between the BBC and Atholl House Productions Ltd, which required the company to provide the services of Kaye Adams to present “The Kaye Adams Programme” each weekday morning on BBC Radio Scotland. The contracts specified that at least 160 programmes would be presented for a minimum fee of £155,000, and any further programmes would be paid for at a rate of £968.75 per programme. In other words, the company was paid a “piece-rate” of £968.75 per programme.

    The question of whether Adams was obliged to provide her services to the BBC and if the BBC was obliged to pay her (a mutuality of obligation) centred around the issue of who had first call on Adams’ time.

    The BBC did exercise editorial control over the content of the programmes, but it did not have control over Adams’ work outside of BBC Radio Scotland. The BBC could sanction Adams retrospectively if she took actions which brought the BBC into disrepute but that did not amount to control.

    The BBC contracts in the two years covered by this case amounted to around 50% of Adams’ income in that period, but the tribunal thought it inappropriate to view those two years in isolation in respect of her overall professional career.

    The written contracts gave the BBC the right to ask Adams to attend editorial training and to undertake a medical, but it never exercised those rights. The tribunal concluded that Adams was not seen as part of the BBC organisation but instead as an external services provider. (Nice work if you can get it as the saying goes).


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