Health chiefs have given an Angus MSP a personal assurance Stracathro Hospital is under no threat of closure after the decision to shut the Mulberry adult mental health unit.
Angus North and Mearns SNP MSP Mairi Gougeon was given a tour of the hospital, led by clinical services manager Stuart Keys, following last week’s decision at Perth Integration Joint Board.
Fears were sparked that it would ultimately lead to the closure of the entire hospital but Mrs Gougeon was assured that plans are in place to widen the usage of the hospital to make full use some of its state-of-the-art facilities.
She was told the health authority’s recent surgical services review will see an increase in ‘elective surgery’ at Stracathro, with plans also afoot to expand work in the hospital’s urology, neurology, dental, ear, nose and throat and plastic surgery specialities.
A cross-border agreement to facilitate care for patients from NHS Grampian and NHS Fife is also likely to contribute to an increase in patient numbers.
Mrs Gougeon said: “There has been concern within the community that the future of Stracathro Hospital was again under threat following the decision to close the Mulberry unit.
“This concern is understandable as it directly followed the loss of endoscopy service and the sterilisation unit.
“I’ve had written reassurances from both the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport and NHS Tayside’s chief executive that there is no threat to Stracathro Hospital.
“But it was important to follow that up by seeing actually what goes on at ground level and see exactly how our incredible NHS staff will be able to carry out patient care at Stracathro for years to come, as well as seeking assurances over future plans.
“Stracathro is a much-loved facility, I’ve lived in Angus all of my life, I know many people that work there and know not just how highly regarded it is by local people but how absolutely vital it is.
“There is a very high quality of care which is recognised by all who visit there. That is evidenced by the continuous positive feedback they receive.
“The plans to increase the level of elective surgery both at Stracathro and in Perth will lead to fewer cancellations and agreements with NHS Grampian and NHS Fife should see an increase in patient numbers.
“We now need to see these plans in action and Stracathro further utilised so that we can all have confidence that the site is not under any threat.”