NHS Tayside chiefs have moved to quell concerns over the long-term future of a local hospital.
Claims that an endoscopy unit at Stracathro has not been utilised due to “cuts” has been levelled at NHS Tayside, along with concerns that the gastroenterology clinic had been withdrawn, forcing Angus residents to travel to Ninewells hospital in Dundee for treatment.
One patient said: “How many patients are no longer receiving the care they needed as a result of the loss of these services?
“What is the NHS plan for the much needed and loved Stracathro hospital?”
However, NHS Tayside responded quickly to underline the organisation’s commitment to the hospital.
Annie Ingram, Deputy Chief Executive at NHS Tayside said: “Our Chairman, John Brown, has given assurances about the future of Stracathro on numerous occasions, most recently in October when he visited to thank staff for their dedication in dealing with a fire.
“The Board of NHS Tayside has not changed its previously stated position that Stracathro Hospital is key to the future delivery of health services in Tayside as we press ahead with our ambitious plans to redesign health and care services.
“NHS Tayside is increasing service provision from Stracathro and through working in partnership with NHS Grampian there will be an increase in the number of surgical procedures undertaken.
“This includes additional vascular local anaesthetic procedures and additional urology endoscopy sessions which began in November.
“Work is also progressing to introduce additional oral and maxillofacial surgery and urology sessions.
“To make the best use of our resources, we must ensure that we are providing the most effective and efficient service for all patients across Tayside.
“The gastroenterology clinic at Stracathro saw small numbers of patients under the care of a single consultant and to allow us to see more patients, outpatient gastroenterology clinics are now being provided from Ninewells.
“We recognise that accessing services is a concern for people across Tayside and as part of NHS Tayside’s Transforming Outpatients Programme, we are looking at how we can use technology to deliver care closer to patients’ homes or indeed in their homes.
“We would encourage the patient to speak to their consultant about their concerns.”
Local campaigners have cast doubt on future of the facility for some time.
Last June, former Angus provost Ruth Leslie Melville said that she had been informed of plans to close and sell the hospital by an “impeccable” source, adding “I fear we are going to be sold, as Judas sold Jesus, for 30 pieces of silver.”