About Us

A Bit Of History

Our roots go back to 1989 when the old Thomas Clouston Clinic was closed and patients were moved to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Patients decided they needed a stronger voice. They wanted to have their opinions heard. So they formed a Patients Council which eventually was properly constituted as the Royal Edinburgh Hospital Patients’ Council in 1993. We continue to strengthen the voice of patients and former patients through independent collective advocacy. We continue to build on the foundations established by patients over twenty years ago.

To Find Out More Click On The Links Below:

Patients Council A Brief History – 1990-2000

Patients Council A Brief History – 2000-2011

Patients Council A Brief History – 2013-2015

Who Are The Patients Council?

If you are a patient or have been a patient of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, you are part of the Patients Council.  You can take part in electing our Management Committee made up of patients and former patients. The Management Committee prioritise work. They monitor finances. They attend meetings and represent the collective voice of patients to shape and improve care services.

Our Current Management Committee Members Are:

Chair of the Patients Council
Patricia Whalley

Vice Chair
Alison Robertson

Convenor of the Management Committee
Martin McAlpine

Management committee members
Albert Nicolson, Stephen Polockus, Stephen Muirhead

Co-opted Member of Management Committee

Cathy Robertson, Isla Jack

For more information on the range of meetings please see our Reports section. Also check out the various reports we produce, particularly our monthly reports. As Members we rely on our own experience as patients and also listen to feedback and experience of other patients and former patients. We volunteer alongside a range of other co-opted members and activists.

Our Current Co-opted Members Are:

Co-opted Members
Cathy Robertson, Isla Jack

AdvoCard Independent Advocacy won the contract to provide independent collective advocacy for mental health and carers in Edinburgh. Whilst the Council and NHS Board have signed the contract with AdvoCard, the advocacy will be delivered through working in partnership with the Patients Council and Edinburgh Carers Council. In partnership with the Patients Council and the Carers Council they will deliver advocacy under the contracts. Although funded by the NHS and City of Edinburgh Council we are independent, our own registered charity and not part of the hospital, the NHS or the Council. Our job is to challenge and campaign for change and improvements in the way services and treatments happen. This means being independent is important.  We have a long established and good working relationship with the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and its staff. We are invited onto many working groups and meetings. We strengthen the voice of patients and work towards developing and improving services.

What Is Collective Advocacy?

The implementation of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 gives every person with a mental health, learning disability or personality disorder the right to access independent advocacy services. The Patients Council provides independent Collective Advocacy which focuses on issues which affect more than one person.

Examples include:

  • Quality of the food
  • Quality of the environment
  • Wider issues such as smoking in the hospital and building a new hospital

The Patients Council work in partnership with Advocard who provide Independent Individual Advocacy in the hospital. Individual issues are issues which affect you personally.  Examples of these are:

  • Appealing a decision about your individual care and treatment
  • Your benefits
  • Your individual care plan

To contact AdvoCard individual advocacy in the hospital phone 0131 537 6004

Sometimes more than one person might experience something which needs to change.  When this happens individual advocacy let the Patients Council know and we take this forward as a collective issue.
Collective advocacy goes further than just making change for the better. Our volunteers and co-optees gain a lot from volunteering for the Patients Council.

‘I experience real satisfaction that my own problems over the years can now be put to positive use because I find it easy to meet similar sufferers on their own terms.’

‘I’m gaining in confidence all the time and have a strong feeling of accomplishment.  It’s very satisfying knowing I’m part of all this, and sometimes it’s very hard work!’

‘Being a member of the P.C. has increased my self-confidence and given me a sense of worth that I never thought possible after my own personal tragedy. I am now discharged and my Recovery is due to the excellent treatment I received in the Royal Ed and the work I have been able to do since. ’Giving back’ is essential to me.’

How do I contribute?

There are a number of ways to contribute to our work. They are designed to ensure that as many people as possible are included and can take part:

• Open meetings (six each year) where people bring concerns, raise issues, elect representatives and hear guest speakers.
• Informal ‘drop-in’ sessions
• Regular newsletters, reports and information
• Small collective advocacy meeting groups for patients in various venues around the hospital, such as on wards
• Workshops on topics of interest in mental health
• Joint working partnerships with the hospital and with Edinburgh Napier University