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Calls for cottage hospitals to be utilised

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By Newsdesk
Calls for cottage hospitals to be utilised

A NEW role must be found for cottage hospitals, comes the call from one MSP.

Community hospitals, such as the one in Newton Stewart and Moffat, pictured, were fallowed at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and have not reopened.

However Finlay Carson, MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries, insists that the crucial services provided must not be lost or centralised in any form.

He believes that a new role must be found to ensure the high quality treatment and services are protected in order to prevent people having to travel any distance in the future.

Mr Carson said: “I will be seeking assurances from NHS Dumfries and Galloway that the planning work undertaken previously at cottage hospitals remain part of its long-term plans in the provision of health and social care.

“The last thing local communities and I want to see are services such as palliative care and step-down services being lost locally and delivered centrally.

“These services along with many others must be continued to be delivered locally, and not centrally, by a team of dedicated health professionals. The elderly, in particular, should not have to travel out with their communities to receive them – but delivered on their own doorstep.”

He has lent his support to the retention, and has called upon the health board to bring forward proposals on how they plan to restart and continue to deliver services.

His comments come after he wrote to Jeff Ace, chief executive officer at NHS Dumfries and Galloway, suggesting that the region’s cottage hospitals could play a role in helping ease the winter crisis now facing health services.

In his response, Mr Ace admitted it was unlikely that the board will open the fallow cottage hospitals this winter.

He said: “We could accommodate only very small numbers of patients in each once we have made their configuration covid safe which would not make best use of the 24-hour staffing team required.”

But the health chief promised he would revisit the situation if they were hugely successful in recruiting additional staff. He has confirmed that the board will review them in the spring when pressures are hopefully a little less intense.


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