A staffing crisis has rocked mental health services in Angus and Perth & Kinross.
NHS Tayside confirmed a junior doctors shortage from February 1 will mean interim moves for the General Adult Psychiatry Inpatient Service in Angus, and and out-of-hours crisis response service in Perth & Kinross.
Only 18.6 whole-time equivalent junior doctors from a requirement of 31 will be available to NHS Tayside in its mental health services, making it impossible to sustain safe services across the Mulberry Unit at Stracathro, Murray Royal in Perth and the Carseview Centre at Dundee.
The board said this is due to a national shortage of trainee psychiatrists and changes to the number of junior doctors available to NHS Tayside.
NHS Tayside medical director, Professor Andrew Russell, said: “Our medical teams have been working hard to find a safe, workable and sustainable solution to the shortage of junior doctors but, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, we have no option but to move to our contingency plans.
“General Adult Psychiatry (GAP) inpatient services are currently provided across three sites — Mulberry ward at the Susan Carnegie Centre in Angus, Moredun ward in Murray Royal Hospital, Perth, and two wards in the Carseview Centre in Dundee.
“The Crisis Response assessment is currently provided in Murray Royal Hospital and Carseview.
“In order to allow us to provide a safe level of care for our patients, GAP inpatient services will be provided from two sites, Carseview and Murray Royal Hospital.
“This will see an interim move of the Mulberry ward to Carseview, with the transition starting on February.
“It may take a few weeks until the ward is fully transferred.”
The Susan Carnegie Centre’s Rowan and Willow wards, which care for up to 30 Psychiatry of Old Age patients, will remain open.
Prof Russell added: “We understand that this decision may cause upset to patients and their families but we cannot compromise the safety of our patients and we simply do not have the right level of medical cover at this time.”
See Friday’s Courier for more on this story and local reaction.