As reported in today's Courier and in my interview today on Radio Tay, I have called on the Minister for Public Health and Sport, Shona Robison MSP, to intervene to protect services for elderly patients at Ward 6 in Dundee’s Royal Victoria Hospital.
Following senior doctors protesting at the possible closure of Ward 6, it is vital that the Minister intervenes to protect these important services for elderly patients in Dundee.
Following a flurry of concerns about the situation from constituents, earlier this month, I wrote to Professor Tony Wells, Chief Executive of NHS Tayside to voice concerns. His response is pasted below.
During the recent general election, Ms Robison’s colleagues in the SNP had made much of a “community charter” they had launched that First Minister Alex Salmond said was a ‘contract with the community’. This document committed SNP parliamentarians to campaign against cuts to our local services and in this case actions speak louder than words and I hope Shona Robison will stand up for Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital.
It is clear from the medical professionals’ concerns that the proposals in relation to Ward 6 that there are very real issues here and it is important that the Public Health Minister takes action here. I have been inundated with concerns from constituents about this matter and I hope NHS Tayside listens carefully to concerns raised by senior doctors and by the wider community.
LETTER RECEIVED FROM THE NHS TAYSIDE CHIEF EXECUTIVE :
Dear Councillor Macpherson
FUTURE OF WARD 6, ROYAL VICTORIA HOSPITAL
Thank you for your email received yesterday (10 May 2010).
Due to the physical environment of Ward 6, the proposed changes mean that there will be a planned, phased closure of this ward over the next five months. However, over the same period, we will be increasing the number of acute medicine for the elderly beds at Ninewells.
NHS Tayside is embarking on an ambitious programme of modernisation of older people services across Tayside as part of our Older People’s Strategy. These plans look at how we can ensure that older people are assessed more quickly and are cared for with all the support they need in the most appropriate environment for their individual needs.
This includes looking at reducing unnecessary admissions and also reducing prolonged lengths of stay for older people in a hospital bed.
Part of the modernisation programme includes a review of the services provided at both Royal Victoria Hospital and Ninewells to ensure that older people requiring admission to hospital are placed in the correct setting and that we have a range of services to support alternatives to admission where this is appropriate.
We believe these improvements will enhance the pathway of care for older people in Tayside and improve care within Medicine for the Elderly services.
Professor Tony Wells