Increased travel costs have emerged as one of the biggest concerns surrounding the proposed removal of mental health services in Angus.
Meanwhile, the recent consultation survey by health chiefs reveals that more than half taking part do not feel the needs of people with mental health or learning difficulties are being met. Only 30%-40% said they were.
The consultation took place from July 3 to October 4 in a bid to find views on the proposed moving of General Adult Psychiatry (GAP) services from Stacathro Hospital’s Mulberry Unit to Carseview in Dundee. 41% of people who took part reported having a physical or mental health condition or disability.
The plans also include relocating learning disability services from Carseview and Strathmartine Hospital to wards at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth.
The issue of transport to Dundee or Perth was a common theme in the responses.
“Families might not have money to travel” and “need to ensure transport of patients is organised and free” were among the comments made.
The Courier reported on Monday that more than half (57%) of respondents do not support a single site for all acute admissions at Carseview.
The Perth and Kinross Integration Joint Board (IJB) will decide on the recommendations on January 26 after it goes to Dundee and Angus IJBs on December 19 and January 10 respectively for noting and comment.
Angus made its voice heard with almost half (43%) of respondents coming from the county.
Some 37% were from Perth and Kinross, 16% from Dundee and 4% from outwith Tayside.
NHS Tayside have insisted “doing nothing is not an option” as the “sustainability of services over the next five to 10 years” is at risk under the status quo.
Meanwhile, the Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership has defended the restructuring.
Robert Packham, chief officer, said: “Clinicians considered this and were assured that it was the only option which is able to provide safe, sustainable and high quality mental health services for the people of Tayside into the future.
“We have always been very clear about what our public consultation was about — we wanted to hear views on how the preferred option would impact on service users, carers, relatives, our partners and communities.
“This feedback forms a critical part of the evidence which will be presented.
“If the preferred option is approved, NHS Tayside and the health and social care partnerships are committed to ensuring that staff, service users, carers and our partners in the public and third sectors continue to play a meaningful part to address the issues they have raised and look at ways of minimising the impact of the proposed changes.”