Forgotten Citizens: welcome - Lisa Curtice, David Kinloch

Forgotten Citizens conference
Published on 7 Oct 2008

Lisa Curtice Welcomed everyone to the event.

David Kinloch: David speaks about his experiences of being in long-stay hospital and how this affected his life. He also tells us about how he had moved on with his life since leaving hospital in the 1980s.

Date of recording
Audio transcript

David Kinloch Speech

Hi, my name is David. I am from Stirling.

I would like to welcome you to this Conference. I hope that you enjoy the day, and I hope that you get a lot out of all the things that are happening today.

We are here today to talk about Forgotten Citizens. People that were kept out of society and forgotten about. People that had no rights, people who had no voice, and people who had no choices.

I am here to talk about some things that happened in my life, and what my life is like now.

When I was young, I knew I had a mother, but I was taken away from her when I was born. I was in and out of kids homes when I was a kid, but I didn't like them. The staff did horrible things to us.

I was 15 when I went to the hospital ~ I went into RSNH. The staff there weren't very nice either, some of them used to be violent ~ they hit me and treated me like I was an animal.

I didn't feel that I should have been there. There were a lot of bad things happening in there ~ the staff were not very nice to us ~ they didn't really want to know ~ some of them were very bad. They used to get the female staff to wash you and get you undressed for your bath. I really didn't like that.

I didn't have any choice about what I did, or when I did it.

I was not allowed to go near any of the girls in there ~ we were not allowed to have girlfriends.

I used to work in an abattoir ~ doing the meat transport. We got paid on a Friday ~ but you weren't allowed to open your pay packet ~ they took the money away from me.

There were patients that took their own lives in there. Two of them hanged themselves outside the bungalows where I stayed; they jumped off the bedroom roofs. I get angry when I think about what happened in the hospital ~ it is hard to forget how upset I was. When you see patients die, you don't forget these things. They were just taken away ~ you weren't allowed to go to their funeral, or visit their grave.

When I got angry about this in the hospital ~ I was given an injection to knock me out for a few hours. I was put in a room with no clothes on and left there until I woke up.

I really didn't like it at the hospital. I tried to run away a few times, but the police found me and took me back. When I was brought back, they gave me the needle, and I was put in the room again.

I left RSNH in 1985.

What are things like now?
Now the hospital is closed. I am independent. I have my own home. I have a job. I have a girlfriend. I have lots of pets ~ including a lovely wee dog called Ricky. He's at home with the misses today.

It took me about 40 years to find my real mum. I met my mother about 10 years ago. But I only knew her for about 3 or 4 years before she died. It was good to get to know her a little bit, we had a lot of catching up to do.

Now I have more choices. I get to decide when I do things. I get to tell people about what my life has been like, and try to make things better for other people.

I use my experience to help others now. I help set up a self advocacy group called The Quality Action Group about 13 years ago. It was really hard work, but it was worth it in the end. It was good that people started listening to us. It is important that people listen to us, and understands why things have to change.

Things have changed in the last 30 years, but it has taken a lot of hard work. Things are still changing now ~ eventually I hope that people with a learning disability have the same lives as every body else.

It is important to remember the past and how things were ~ because this reminds us to work harder, and remember that some people still have bad lives, and not many choices ~ it is up to us to help make the changes.

We can not forget the bad things that have happened, or the bad things that still do happen.

I am still involved in the work Quality Action Group do. We do training and workshops, and talks like this to tell people about what it is like to have a learning disability. Hopefully then we can all help change lives.