Angus Health and Social Care Partnership has reiterated assurances that no decisions have made to close any facility in the county.
The assurances come as concerns have been raised over the future of Brechin Infirmary, and amid ongoing concern about the Mulberry Unit.
Gail Smith, head of community health and care services for AHSCP, was responding to a request sent by the paper following an open letter by Grahame Lockhart, chair of Brechin Healthcare Group.
In his letter, which can be seen in full on page 26, Grahame said: “At the drop-in information session in Montrose by Angus Health and Social Care Partnership on Wednesday, February 15, Gail Smith, in a long conversation with members of the public, seemed to indicate that Brechin and Montrose Infirmaries will be closing permanently, and that Stracathro Hospital, and if possible the Mulberry Unit, could be utilised for the provision of services. This causes me serious concern as this precedes any consultation with the community.”
Concerns over the future of Brechin Infirmary, have also been raised by North East MSP, Mike Rumbles.
Mr Rumbles commented: “Community hospitals, such as Brechin Infirmary, play an important role in keeping patients in their communities and in close proximity to their friends and family. If these facilities are moved further afield to Stracathro or even Dundee this will cause serious issues for those reliant upon public transport.
“Local people have a right to know what the future holds for these facilities, which are held in high regard in the local area. Certainty should not be put on hold for the sake of political expediency.”
In her response, Gail Smith said: “Angus Health and Social Care Partnership and NHS Tayside are committed to working with the local communities in and around Brechin and the wider north Angus locality to plan and provide safe and sustainable health and social care services now and for the future.
“The involvement, feedback and contributions of community groups such as the North East Locality Improvement Group, chaired by local GP Dr Marc Jacobs, and the Patient Participation Group for Brechin Health Centre are extremely valuable to us.
“Staff in the Angus community and secondary care clinicians, who are providing services to local people every day, are happy to share their experiences and their expertise with these local groups, which have been set up to ensure we have ongoing engagement about service developments with our local communities.
“It is unfortunate that Mr Lockhart was unable to attend either of the public drop in sessions we recently held in Montrose and Brechin to hear firsthand from local clinicians how services are being delivered, what new services are being planned and how communities can continue to be involved in shaping future services.
“No decisions have been made to close any facility in Angus. As part of the development of the Angus Health and Social Care Partnership’s Strategic Plan, a review of inpatient facilities in Angus will be carried out over the coming months to consider the future configuration of inpatient resources as part of the model in Angus.
“This will be fully developed in partnership with our communities with the aim of presenting a strategic plan for the future estate and service configuration later this year.”