Families could miss out on getting to say a final goodbye to a loved one as a result of hospital closures in Angus, it has been claimed.
Barbara Cargill, 79, from Montrose, said the closure of so many GP beds locally will make it more likely elderly people will die in Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, away from friends and family.
Mrs Cargill said: “My mum died in Montrose Infirmary and I got to sit with her right at the very end.
“Just with her last breath she opened her eyes and the last thing my mum saw was me. When my time is up it’s likely I’m going to be stuck in Ninewells.
“I’ve a daughter, son and grandchildren in the town and how would they feel if they don’t get there before I die? They will be absolutely heartbroken.
“How will I feel if I still have my faculties and there’s nobody there for me? I’ll be heartbroken.”
Montrose maternity unit has never reopened since it closed due to staff shortages in June 2016.
“You can’t be born in Montrose and you can’t die in Montrose,” said Mrs Cargill.
“When the call comes to say your final goodbye you need to be there as quickly as possible.
“If a loved one is stuck in Ninewells and you are in Montrose it means many families just won’t make it in time.
“If you take an elderly couple and the other one doesn’t drive then they are left relying on public transport.
“This is the reality of these changes and elderly people just aren’t being listened to.”
Angus Health and Social Care Partnership has defended the new Angus Care Model following the loss of 36 GP beds across north east and west Angus.
Under the new plans, inpatient care will not be delivered from Brechin Infirmary, which has been non-operational since October 2015, or from Montrose Infirmary where the environment has been branded no longer suitable for the delivery of modern healthcare.
Inpatient care for stroke, Psychiatry of Old Age, Medicine for the Elderly, and palliative care services will be delivered from Stracathro Hospital, Whitehills Health and Community Care Centre in Forfar and Arbroath Infirmary.
Gail Smith, Head of Community Health & Care Services (North Angus) for Angus Health and Social Care Partnership said, “The provision of local community-based palliative care is one of the clear priorities outlined in the Angus Care Model.
“We would like to reassure residents of Montrose that people with palliative care needs will continue to be supported by members of the local healthcare team, to live in their own homes for as long as it is safe to do so, taking account of the person’s and their family/carer’s wishes.
“If people require additional support, depending on their clinical needs, they would be admitted to an intermediate care bed in a local care home or an inpatient bed at Stracathro Hospital, Whitehills Care and Community Centre or Arbroath Infirmary.
“If more specialist and complex care is required there would be no change to the current pathway of care and patients would be admitted to Ninewells Hospital or Roxburghe House.
“Members of the public are invited to come along to planned information sessions and hear how our plans are progressing for the development of the Angus Care Model.
“Staff will be on hand to explain how services will look in the future and answer any questions or concerns people may have.”