Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Brechin health group future “uncertain” after infirmary takeover plan fails

Brechin Healthcare Group's future is "uncertain", says chairman Grahame Lockhart. Pic: Mhairi Edwards/Chris Donnan/DCT Media.
Brechin Healthcare Group's future is "uncertain", says chairman Grahame Lockhart. Pic: Mhairi Edwards/Chris Donnan/DCT Media.

Angus health campaigners are at a crossroads after seeing their dream of creating a community hub in an old town hospital crushed.

Brechin Healthcare Group says it will now “step back” to reflect on the failed appeal against NHS Tayside’s rejection of a community asset transfer (CAT) bid for the disused local infirmary.

Brechin Infirmary
NHS Tayside is spending more than £30,000 a year to keep Brechin Infirmary wind and watertight.

The group has pledged to continue to deliver vital support through its Jenner Centre.

It was set up as a stop-gap while the infirmary dream of creating a community health and wellbeing hub was being pursued.

But the group has just a short lease on the old bank branch in the town centre which is home to the valuable facility.

And chairman Grahame Lockhart has admitted BHG’s future is “uncertain”.

Meanwhile, NHS Tayside say all options will now be considered over what is to happen to the infirmary.

But a £600,000-plus valuation on a cleared development site would suggest sale is the most likely outcome.

Disappointment and anger

Mr Lockhart said BHG met in the wake of the Scottish Ministers’ decision to reject their appeal.

“And whilst there is deep disappointment at the decision, the overwhelming emotion of all of us on the steering group is anger at the way we have been treated by NHS Tayside,” he said.

“Since the decision has been made public, we have received numerous messages from folk in the community expressing their disappointment and anger at the decision.

“People are wondering what’s next for Brechin.”

He hit out at repeated delays in the CAT process from the time it was first submitted in 2019.

More than two years’ later, the board of NHS Tayside rejected the application.

Brechin Infirmary
Brechin |Healthcare Group members at the infirmary site. Pic: Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media.

‘Slap in the face’

Mr Lockhart said: “We acknowledge that the pandemic has impacted on the CAT process.

“But from our initial contact with NHS Tayside in 2018 until June 2021 there has been delay after delay, necessitating us to go to the top to get the process moving.

“It makes a mockery of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

“The support from the community over the six years since BHG was set up has been amazing.

“And raising £12,000 in six weeks to fund building surveys demonstrated folks’ support for the project.

“The refusal of the CAT request and dismissal of the appeal is a slap in the face to the wonderful people in our community.

“We have decided to step back for a period of reflection to consider where we go from here.

The Jenner Centre with its short-term lease will continue its excellent work.

“However, the future for BHG is uncertain,” said Mr Lockhart.

Project figures and the site’s future

The appeal reporter’s ruling highlighted the potential value of the old infirmary as a development site.

BHG offered £150k – a figure the reporter felt was reasonable given the community benefit which would follow.

NHS Tayside board said that figure fell well short of their £400k valuation for the Infirmary Street site.

And they suggest it will rise to £675k for a cleared development site.

The two sides were also miles apart in their assessment of cost of works required to deliver the new hub.

NHS Tayside forecast the total figure to be around £1.6 million – BHG suggested it would be just over £600k.

The board also say the backlog of maintenance needed was almost £400,000 in 2018.

And they are spending more than £30,000 a year to keep the empty structure wind and watertight.

NHS Tayside did not confirm if the infirmary would now be put on the open market in the wake of the appeal outcome.

A spokesperson said: “We will now be considering all options in relation to the site’s future.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]