Vi­tal ser­vice is cut from Lorn and Is­lands Hos­pi­tal

The Oban Times - - Front Page - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

PEO­PLE with blad­der prob­lems will now have to travel fur­ther for spe­cial­ist care af­ter clin­ics in Oban were moved to Pais­ley, Alexan­dria or Glas­gow hos­pi­tals.

Urol­ogy is no longer of­fered at Lorn and Is­lands Hos­pi­tal af­ter city con­sul­tants said they were mov­ing the clinic and clos­ing the unit in town.

For some pa­tients, of which there are be­lieved to be at least 300 in the area – in­clud­ing at least 40 pa­tients on Mull alone – it will mean a whole day of trav­el­ling for a 15-minute ap­point­ment.

A meet­ing of Oban Com­mu­nity Coun­cil on Mon­day even­ing was told that mem­bers were un­aware of the ser­vice clo­sure.

Even the chair­man of the lo­cal health and so­cial care part­ner­ship, Coun­cil­lor Ke­iron Green, ap­peared to be com­pletely in the dark about the move.

Coun­cil­lor Mary-Jean Devon, who is the newly ap­pointed Argyll and Bute rep­re­sen­ta­tive to NHS High­land, said she had been in­un­dated with com­plaints about the sit­u­a­tion, adding: ‘It is no laugh­ing mat­ter – this is an in­cred­i­bly se­ri­ous is­sue.

‘No­body knew that this essen­tial ser­vice was moved to Glas­gow and peo­ple are gen­uinely con­cerned that they will not get the sup­port they need.’

Urol­ogy is the branch of medicine that fo­cuses on sur­gi­cal and med­i­cal dis­eases of the uri­nary tract and male re­pro­duc­tive or­gans and gen­i­touri­nary surgery.

Ms Devon con­tin­ued: ‘It is dis­grace­ful that as a coun­cil­lor I have to find out what is hap­pen­ing in Oban hos­pi­tal from con­stituents.

‘One of them has tried four times to get to an ap­point­ment and there was no pa­tient trans­port avail­able and she hasn’t made it.

‘Trav­el­ling for an hour to Oban and back is quite dif­fer­ent from trav­el­ling a whole day for a five-minute ap­point­ment.

‘There is no joined-up think­ing, there is no pa­tient trans­port. So how are peo­ple go­ing to get to their ap­point­ments?

‘Peo­ple should be en­cour­aged to claim ev­ery sin­gle penny for travel costs to the hos­pi­tal. That might make them think again.

‘I don’t think we are be­ing told the truth about the hos­pi­tal. The clinic has been in the hos­pi­tal since it opened and surgery has al­ways been done in Oban. That is no longer the case. The nurses, the equip­ment and ev­ery­thing is there – but it is not go­ing to be used.

‘I have no idea why no-one in this room knows that the ser­vice is gone.’

Chair­woman of Oban Com­mu­nity Coun­cil Marri Mal­loy said: ‘You will not be­lieve this ... I am on the com­mu­ni­ca­tion group for Lorn and Is­lands Hos­pi­tal – and I don’t even know about it.

‘To say I am fu­ri­ous is an un­der­state­ment. We have been told lies.

‘There is no way this has just hap­pened. This has been part of longer term plan­ning by con­sul­tants in Glas­gow. But no-one seems to have re­mem­bered to have told us.

‘I am go­ing to say this very sim­ply – we have been fed a load of lies by the hos­pi­tal man­agers, and so have the staff in the hos­pi­tal. We can see that bit by bit they are tak­ing away all the ser­vices from the hos­pi­tal.

‘If peo­ple at the hos­pi­tal don’t tell us the truth, then we will need to have an­other pub­lic meet­ing and take mat­ters into our own hands.

‘If coun­cil­lors don’t know about it, who is fight­ing for us against the health boards cuts?’

For­mer coun­cil­lor Neil MacIn­tyre told the meet­ing: ‘This is a prob­lem be­ing faced through­out the coun­try. Con­sul­tants can­not be found for any­where, so these doc­tors have got to­gether and said, “I am not get­ting any more money for go­ing to Oban, so let’s just get them here where I can see more pa­tients in the same time”.

‘The only an­swer,’ he con­tin­ued, ‘is to re-na­tion­alise the health ser­vice.’

Com­mu­nity coun­cil­lors have ar­ranged a pub­lic meet­ing on Tues­day June 13 at 7pm in the Cor­ran Halls.

Af­ter the com­mu­nity coun­cil meet­ing Coun­cil­lor Elaine Robert­son con­firmed that she knew about the plans on May 23. Her un­der­stand­ing was that urol­ogy had been dis­cussed at a pub­lic meet­ing held by the com­mu­nity coun­cil back in Jan­uary.

A spokesman for Argyll and Bute Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship said: ‘ Due to the na­tional short­ages of con­sul­tant urol­o­gists, we have been un­able to re­cruit a re­place­ment lead urol­o­gist to sup­port the lo­cal out­reach and di­ag­nos­tic ser­vice for more than two years. There­fore, we jointly planned and agreed with NHS Greater Glas­gow and Clyde that urol­ogy ser­vices for the area could only be pro­vided in Glas­gow by NHS GG&C’s team of urol­o­gists, as this would en­sure we would have a safe and sus­tain­able ser­vice which meets clin­i­cal gov­er­nance stan­dards.

‘Urol­ogy is a spe­cial­ist clin­i­cal ser­vice and NHS GG&C is un­able to sup­port the con­tin­u­a­tion of the hy­brid ser­vice model which had op­er­ated in Oban with a gen­eral sur­geon and a urol­ogy nurse pro­vid­ing a ba­sic di­ag­nos­tic and fol­low-up ser­vice. All other as­pects of the urol­ogy ser­vice have al­ways been pro­vided in Glas­gow.

‘How­ever, pa­tient safety is our pri­or­ity, and there­fore for the fore­see­able fu­ture ba­sic urol­ogy di­ag­nos­tics and fol­low-ups are now car­ried out in Glas­gow. This has been in op­er­a­tion since Jan­uary and we have con­firmed this on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions.’

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