Nicola Sturgeon was warned of the impact on patients of closing a mental health unit in Tayside.
The SNP leader was challenged by one of her backbench MSPs on the future of Stracathro Hospital’s Mulberry Unit during First Minister’s Questions.
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Posted by The Scottish Parliament on Thursday, 19 January 2017
The Angus facility, which provides inpatient mental health treatment, is to close from February 1 because of a lack of junior doctors.
The service is being transferred to Carseview in Dundee for an unspecified period.
Mairi Evans, the SNP’s Angus North and Mearns MSP, said: “The closure will of course have a big impact on patients, their families, carers and staff living in Angus.
“I’d like to ask the First Minister what will be done to mitigate the impact of this closure, what steps are being taken to encourage doctors into psychiatry and will the cabinet secretary meet with me and service users in my constituency to discuss their serious concerns?”
Ms Sturgeon said NHS Tayside has assured the Scottish Government that the closure is a “temporary measure”.
“We will provide every support to the board and the local health and social care partnerships as they continue to work with their partners to secure a sustainable model for the long term,” she added.
She said the Health Secretary would be willing to meet the MSP and others to discuss concerns.
NHS Tayside is looking at an alternative way of delivering mental health services, which is currently spread across three sites at Stracathro, Carseview and Murray Royal.
Ms Sturgeon also said at FMQs that a choice on Scotland’s future is “looming” after Theresa May confirmed this week that the UK would be leaving the European single market.
She accused the Tories of wanting to “drag Scotland kicking and screaming over that Brexit cliff edge”.
The First Minster was earlier under fire from the Scottish Conservative leader for punishing businesses with their rates system.
Ruth Davidson accused her of making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK.
The SNP leader responded saying the label was “ridiculous”, pointing to Scots being entitled to free tuition and personal care for the elderly.