The Mental Health Tribunal

The temporary detention order that had been granted in the Gilbert Bain Hospital under the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2003 expired at midnight on 26th December 2021. I now know that an extension certificate was not put in place to extend the detention by five working days until a hearing of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland was held on the the 6th January 2022, so I became a voluntary patient on the 26th. The hospital did not inform me of this until 11th January 2022 and in the meantime administered three more sessions of ECT despite my strong objections and distress.

Above are extracts from Dr Jane Murdoch's submission to the Tribunal, written on 21st December 2021, with some annotations that I made when I went through her statement with my solicitor. Three days after Dr Murdoch certified that I was reluctant to eat and drink I was enjoying Christmas lunch and dinner with the other patients, and eight days after she stated that I was unable to arrange representation I had a meeting with my solicitor. My dietary intake is recorded in my notes, and on the day that she said that I needed encouragement to eat I ate breakfast, had a morning drink, then a 3-course lunch, an afternoon drink, a 2-course evening meal, and a sandwich before bed. The improvement over the Christmas period cannot be attributed to the first session of forced ECT on 24th December, as I now know from seeing my notes that the increasing currents that they passed through my brain on that occasion failed to produce a seizure.

Above are extracts from the statement that Dr Rauinder Badial, the husband of Dr Hannah Badial, submitted to the Tribunal as the second-opinion psychiatrist. It is dated 22nd December 2021. He only met me once. Despite both psychiatrists testifying that I was incapable of instructing a solicitor and incapable of making decisions about my own treatment, the Advocacy service arranged for a solicitor from Ormistons Mental Health Law Practice to represent me at the Tribunal. I met him for the first time on 29th December 2021 and we met again on 5th January 2022 to go through the Compulsory Treatment Order Pack that had been submitted to the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland.

Above is part of the letter showing that, despite both psychiatrists testifying that I was incapable of instructing a solicitor, I did exactly that seven days later.

The tribunal was held remotely on 6th January 2022, with my solicitor speaking on my behalf. The Mental Health Officer making the application admitted that it was just over three weeks since she had visited me in the hospital and she did not know about my current condition, and at the time of her visit it was not clear that a Compulsory Treatment Order would be required. Dr Jane Murdoch was on annual leave and did not attend the tribunal or provide a substitute, so her views on my condition could not be heard or challenged. Luckily, in her absence, the tribunal accepted evidence from a staff nurse who confirmed that I had made a huge improvement, that I was engaging well with staff and was able to give my views about treatment eloquently. He was my saviour and I am appalled to think what would have happened if the Tribunal had believed the psychiatrists, if Dr Murdoch had attended the Tribunal instead of the nurse, and my confinement within the ward and forced treatment with ECT had continued. The Tribunal ruled that the conditions set out in Section 64(5) of the 2003 Act had not been met and refused the application for a Compulsory Treatment Order. I agreed to stay in the hospital as a voluntary patient. I see from my notes that the doctors were not pleased by that outcome, which they attributed to the regrettable lack of evidence from a psychiatrist at the Tribunal.