Com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity closes to new ad­mis­sions

The Galloway News - - FRONT PAGE - Stephen Nor­ris

Ad­mis­sions of pa­tients to Cas­tle Dou­glas Cot­tage Hospi­tal have been halted be­cause of a lack of med­i­cal cover.

Dumfries and Gal­loway Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship (DGHSCP) took the ac­tion on Mon­day to en­sure pa­tient safety.

Kirkcud­bright Cot­tage Hospi­tal will pro­vide med­i­cal assess­ment and sup­port for the Ste­wartry un­til the sit­u­a­tion is re­solved.

The sud­den de­ci­sion to stop ad­mis­sions has caused dis­may in the town.

Lo­cal coun­cil­lor Iain Howie said: “I share the com­mu­nity’s con­cern that such dras­tic mea­sures had to be adopted at such short no­tice. How­ever, pa­tient care must take pri­or­ity over other is­sues.

“Prob­lems at­tract­ing GPs to work in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties is a na­tional prob­lem which re­quires a na­tional so­lu­tion.

“But the ne­ces­sity of pro­vid­ing GP pro­vi­sion to cot­tage hos­pi­tals is one that I be­lieve should fea­ture in fu­ture GP con­tracts.”

In the in­terim, all pa­tients re­quir­ing med­i­cal over­sight are be­ing trans­ferred from Cas­tle Dou­glas to Kirkcud­bright.

An on­go­ing re­view is now un­der way of all pa­tients in both hos­pi­tals to en­sure they re­ceive ap­pro­pri­ate care and sup­port.

DGHSCP gen­eral manager Gra­ham Abrines said the un­avail­abil­ity of a doc­tor

com­bined with a lack of any vi­able al­ter­na­tive had forced the move.

He said: “This is due to well­known is­sues around short­ages of med­i­cal staffing, par­tic­u­larly GPs.

“We are in a sit­u­a­tion where we have no op­tion but to take im­me­di­ate ac­tion in or­der to safe­guard pa­tients.

“We will en­sure they re­ceive high qual­ity, safe and ef­fec­tive care and sup­port from the ap­pro­pri­ate clin­i­cal team in or­der to meet their needs.”

Med­i­cal cover must be avail­able for cot­tage hos­pi­tals to fully func­tion.

Pa­tients can be med­i­cally as­sessed and treat­ment plans de­vel­oped or re­vised with the pa­tient, along with in­put from other pro­fes­sion­als.

Med­i­cal man­age­ment pro­vi­sion at Cas­tle Dou­glas Cot­tage Hospi­tal is ex­pected to start to be­come avail­able again in Au­gust.

The sit­u­a­tion will be re­viewed at that point.

Ev­ery other cot­tage hospi­tal re­lies on ex­ist­ing ar­range­ments for GP prac­tices to pro­vide med­i­cal man­age­ment.

Mr Abrines said: “Ide­ally, we would be in a po­si­tion where we had lo­cal medics or ad­vanced prac­ti­tion­ers who were in a po­si­tion to pro­vide the level of med­i­cal assess­ment and sup­port re­quired.

“How­ever, the short­age of GPs in Dumfries and Gal­loway is well doc­u­mented as part of a wider, na­tional re­cruit­ment chal­lenge.

“Ev­ery con­ceiv­able ap­proach to pro­vid­ing al­ter­nate short-term cover has been ex­hausted.

“Full med­i­cal man­age­ment pro­vi­sion is ex­pected to be fully in place in Septem­ber through a con­tract with a very ex­pe­ri­enced locum medic.”

South of Scot­land Labour MSP Colin Smyth urged ac­tion to tackle staff short­ages in the re­gion.

He said: “Rather than bury their heads in the sand, it’s time this SNP Gov­ern­ment prop­erly re­sourced our NHS and fixed the re­cruit­ment cri­sis which is hav­ing such a pro­found im­pact.

“The halt­ing of ad­mis­sions at Cas­tle Dou­glas Hospi­tal will see pa­tients hav­ing to be moved be­cause the NHS can­not guar­an­tee they would re­ceive the high qual­ity care they need in Cas­tle Dou­glas and this is simply isn’t good enough.”

Con­cerned Coun­cil­lor Iain Howie, right, at the hospi­tal yesterday. Above, Gra­ham Abrines said the fa­cil­ity had no op­tion but to halt ad­mis­sions

Re­cruit­ment cri­sis MSP Colin Smyth

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