PATIENT recovery in mental health wards in Scotland is being “cruelly undermined” due to Covid isolation guidelines, an MSP has argued. 

Central Scotland representative Monica Lennon has called on the First Minister to “fix” the 10-day rule, which sees patients “cut-off” from their loved ones despite showing negative PCR results. 

The Labour politician wants the principles behind Anne’s Law - aimed to give people in care settings the right to contact their family - to be rolled out to all patients in psychiatric hospitals.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Glasgow family in fight for Scottish Government to axe 10-day Covid isolation rule on mental health wards

The Scottish Government has said that when there is a Covid outbreak on mental health wards, essential visits continue for those where the absence of a visitor would cause distress. 

MSP Monica Lennon said: “People needing mental health treatment are not going to reach out for help if they fear losing their human rights.

“The principles behind the long-promised Anne’s Law, which will give people in care settings the right to contact with their family caregivers, are fundamental to our human rights.”

Her calls come shortly after we told of one family’s fight for the 10-day isolation rule to be axed.

Lauren Boulazreg’s brother, Callum, was admitted to the Royal Gartnavel almost one year ago after struggling to cope with the tragic death of their mother. 

The 29-year-old survived a car crash involving a drunk driver that killed the siblings’ mum.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Glasgow family's fight for Covid isolation rule change on mental health wards gets 2.5k signatures in 1 day

Since his admission, he has been required to isolate at least seven times - despite being triple vaccinated and showing negative PCR results.

He is currently able to make contact with his family through a bedroom window after another patient on his ward tested positive for the virus. The ward is due to fully reopen this weekend.

Callum’s sisters, Lauren and Louisa, say that each time he is required to isolate, it stunts his road to recovery and poses a risk on him being able to live a full, happy and healthy life. They fear that he could soon be forced into isolation again if there is another outbreak.

The family has launched an online petition they hope to put to the Sottish Government, demanding reformation of the current guidance in place for mental health wards. 

In just less than three days, it has received more than 4000 signatures. 

Lauren said: “As a family, it is incredible to get people listening. I think my brother has felt as though he has been forgotten about for so long.

“When the trauma and pain of our brother isolating time and time again is dismissed, it is absolutely devastating so to have it validated and supported is a step in the right direction.

“Every hour wasted is an hour of somebody’s recovery and healing.

“I know that historically, these things take a long time to turn around but in these scenarios, time is precious. Every hour wasted is an hour of somebody’s recovery and healing.

“We have been told that my brother isn’t stressed enough to receive visitors, but I find this deplorable. How can they measure my brother’s distress?

“I know him and I know that he is suffering right now.”

Glasgow Times:

MSP Monica Lennon has pledged to support the family with their campaign.

She said: “The trauma and loss experienced by the Boulazreg family in their young lives is truly heartbreaking.

“Callum’s recovery is being cruelly undermined by the application of rules that don’t apply to the rest of society.

“People needing mental health treatment are not going to reach out for help if they fear losing their human rights.

“Lauren and the Boulazreg family have my full support. We can’t have people in mental health wards being cut off from their loved ones for long periods. The First Minister needs to fix this immediately.”

Lauren added: “To get to this point, I’m very proud of him, he has given me strength to do this for him and for so many other people. 

“I hope that this shines a light on the issue that is happening on mental health wards right now and makes people realise that it isn’t acceptable.

“These wards aren’t nice places to be, anybody who has stepped onto a mental health ward themselves will know this. Can you imagine being locked away in a room on your own for 10 days?

“We want to change them for the better.”

Glasgow Times:

The Scottish Government said it could not comment on individual cases.

A spokesperson said: “While we cannot comment on individual cases, where there is an outbreak in hospital, we expect essential visits to continue. This includes the care of a patient with a mental health issue, where the absence of a visitor would cause distress.”

A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "We are pleased to be able to advise that, in line with national guidance, we are working towards opening the ward this weekend."