By Lucy Ashton
Jackie Baillie has spoken of her concern at reports that two dementia wards in West Dunbartonshire are under threat of closure.
The Dumbarton constituency MSP has been contacted by worried constituents who claim that health bosses are considering closing the Glenarn Ward at Dumbarton Joint Hospital and the Fruin Ward at the Vale of Leven Hospital. Both units treat patients who have dementia.
Jackie Baillie has sought reassurance from Beth Culshaw, right, Chief Executive of West Dunbartonshire health and social care partnership over the potential closures and, despite chasing up her enquiry on several occasions, has not had any response.
Worries have been raised that inpatient care for dementia will be transferred to Glasgow.
Jackie Baillie and Vale of Leven Hospital where the Fruin ward houses dementia patients and (top of page) Joint Hospital in Cardross Road, Dumbarton, where dementia patients are looked after.
Jackie Baillie said: “These are alarming reports and will be leading to uncertainty for the families of those with loved ones at both the Glenarn Ward and the Fruin Ward. The lack of response from the Chief Executive is extremely unhelpful.
“Centralising inpatient dementia treatment is incredibly damaging to the patient and also to their family. The whole ethos around treating people with dementia is that they should be close to home as this minimises upheaval and change in their lives. It also means their support network is at hand.
“There were rumours that Fruin and Katrine wards at the Vale of Leven Hospital might close in recent years and it is really worrying that there appears to be a threat once again.
“I have demanded a response from the Chief Executive of the health and social care partnership to put the minds of staff, patients and their families at rest. They must not be allowed to avoid accountability to the local community and cannot remain silent about this any longer.
“Mental health is a huge priority within the community and it should be for the local health and social care partnership as well as the Scottish Government.
“Threats to these wards need to be ruled out for at least the next three years to ensure the service is retained, staff are secure in their employment and patients and their families know that treatment will continue locally.”
OPINION: The Health and Social Care Partnership is the product of yet another SNP cost cutting measure which has seen unelected and elected members of West Dunbartonshire Council making inexplicable and unattributed and inexplicable decisions about the future of individuals and services to the community. Their remit runs from care homes to hospitals and GPs. Anyone attending any of their meetings would leave without a clue of what is being discussed and, since The Democrat – and now the MSP – cannot get answers to questions in order to make clear to the electorate what is happening in the NHS locally then I think describing it as “a shambles”it’s only fair and fitting. If there are any more SNP cuts in services in Dunbartonshire then the NHS will be a ghost service around here. Someone has to shout Stop! Bill Heaney, editor.