Reprieve for hospital's casualty department
Campaigners have been successful in delaying a decision on the future of the casualty department at Chalmers Hospital in Banff.
Proposals have been mooted for the minor injury unit (MIU) which included overnight closure from 6pm to 8am each day.
Friends of Chalmers Hospital met with representatives of the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, staff at the MIU and elected representatives to discuss its concerns.
It was agreed that the recommendations for the future operating model will be delayed to allow for a further period of data gathering. During this period the unit will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The other options that were put forward for the unit were keeping it as it is; complete closure; and opening from 8am to late in the evening, with the closing time to be agreed with the GMED service and ambulances.
Peter Johnston, honorary treasurer for the Friends of Chalmers Hospital, said: “The Friends of Chalmers Hospital welcomes the fact that further consideration is being given to the unit’s activities and we look forward to seeing the outcome.”
Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership will put forward its recommendations to Aberdeenshire Council’s integration joint board (IJB).
Angie Wood from the partnership said: “As with the other areas that have been part of this review process, it is vitally important that we have the confidence of all of the stakeholders in the recommendations we put forward to the integration joint board.
“At the meeting we had an open and honest discussion about the recommendations we were due to put to the IJB and we agreed that it would be best to delay these until we can complete a further, intensive piece of data collection.
“Over the next month we will take an in-depth look at activity in the out-of-hours period at the unit, including patient outcomes.”
Recommendations for the other four units, which includes Turriff, will still be presented to the IJB at its June 19 meeting.
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson attended the meeting and welcomed the commitment given by the health officials.
Mr Stevenson said: “I was pleased to participate in what proved to be a very constructive and inclusive discussion regarding the consultation process for the future of the minor injuries unit at Chalmers Hospital.
“I am very happy that the original options have meantime been taken off the table, and I feel reassured that the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership will now be liaising with the Friends of Chalmers Hospital and the local community in deciding the future of the MIU.”
Banff and District councillor Glen Reynolds said: “As a board member of the Friends of Chalmers Hospital, I am obviously delighted that following a meeting with representatives of the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, the proposed recommendation for reduction of opening hours at the urgent care services unit at Chalmers has been withdrawn for the time being.
“This will enable further data to be gathered and the issues we
have raised will be considered. I will ensure along with others, that members of the public know that what they usually call the casualty department at Chalmers is still open 24/7 while the review continues.
“All involved in campaigning to achieve this rethink must be congratulated, it would not have been possible without public pressure and that of volunteers from safety groups and others.”