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Talks held over future of medical facilities

By Kyle Ritchie

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North-east politicians have held face-to-face talks with health and social care bosses over the future of minor injury units.

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid and north-east region MSP Peter Chapman met Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership chief officer Adam Coldwells about the facilities in Banff and Turriff.

Mr Duguid and Mr Chapman raised concerns expressed by local residents about proposals to reduce operating hours at the facilities.

MP David Duguid and MSP Peter Chapman met with Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership staff.
MP David Duguid and MSP Peter Chapman met with Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership staff.

Hundreds of people turned out to as consultation event on the future of the unit at Chalmers Hospital in Banff recently.

Research carried out by the Scottish Conservatives found that the units have been well used over the past five years, with 15,197 patients attending Turriff and 21,790 in Banff.

A preferred option for Turriff is still to be outlined for the integrated joint board, but the proposal for Banff is to reduce hours to daytime only from 8am to 6pm.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Duguid said: “I wanted to sit down and talk directly to senior officials at the health and social care partnership to relay concerns raised by my constiutents.

“It is clear that locals do not want to see any downgrading of the local minor injury units in Turriff or Banff – which are two of the most-used in Aberdeenshire.

“The message from the partnership was that they want to minimise any reduction in service, and are keen to raise awareness among the public about which facilities to use for different levels of injury.

“I will be following up with a letter and I plan to update my constituents, who are understandably worried about the future of these local services.”

Mr Chapman said: “I don’t envy the tough decisions that the integrated joint board are faced with.

“However, I think the public have demonstrated their support for maintaining the status quo with these units.

“I want to protect local services – and I am concerned that even a partial downgrading could be the thin end of the wedge.

“But I also understand the challenges faced by the health and social care partnership at a time when both our local council and health board faced underfunding from the SNP government.”

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