As an NHS Psychiatrist who has worked in Scotland as a Consultant for over 15 years I want to offer my full support for this petition.
Recently at a Cross Party Group meeting held at the Scottish Parliament it was stated that “depression is under-recognised across all age groups” and that “maintenance treatment has a good risk-benefit ratio.” This was said without acknowledging that these statements cannot be made with absolute certainty.
I have found that my profession in Scotland seems to resist evidence of experience and at the same time prioritise the opinions of experts.
Potential for Expert Bias (one):
There is evidence that establishes that senior Scottish psychiatrists, who have provided expert input to Scottish Government strategies, and who have been involved in developing National prescribing guidelines, have had significant financially-based vested interests.
Potential for Expert Bias (two):
It is worth perhaps pointing out that Scottish Psychiatry has been traditionally orientated around biological determinants of mental health. Like myself, many academics have concluded that Scottish psychiatry lacks real-world, pluralistic breadth to the science of the mind and brain. Across the border, in England and Wales, the approach is far less reductionist. This includes the involvement of experts whose interests are not solely focussed on the bio-medical determinants of mental health.
I do prescribe psychiatric medications including antidepressants but I do not agree with the ‘experts’ that prescribing in Scotland is “conservative”. 1 in 7 Scots are now taking antidepressants.
Appropriate and informed prescribing is what we seek where there is open discussion about the potential benefits and potential harms of such treatments. This and an honest consideration that for many medications we cannot be certain of long-term effects.
Dr Peter J Gordon GMC number 3468861
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