MP to hold emergency talks over care home

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Dumfries and Galloway SNP MP Richard Arkless is to hold emergency talks with NHS Dumfries & Galloway over the sudden closure of the Darataigh mental health unit in Stranraer.

Last Thursday health board officials announced that the unit was to permanently close and plans to redesign mental health services in Wigtownshire were to be accelerated.

Mr Arkless said: “I am deeply concerned about the sudden closure of the Darataigh mental health unit in Stranraer.

“On Saturday, I met with a family who relied on Darataigh for respite care. They are understandably very worried by the unit’s sudden closure. Vulnerable adults, such as dementia patients or those with learning difficulties, need their daily routine to be predictable. This sudden change has been very distressing for them.

“Whilst I understand the motives of the proposed changes - to move towards more support at home for dementia patients - this closure will mean that some of my constituents will face a 160 mile round trip to receive inpatient care in Dumfries.

“I cannot accept a situation where people in this region have to travel 80 miles for care previously available nearby, whether that is West to East or vice versa”

Julie White, Chief Operating Officer for NHS Dumfries and Galloway said: “The proposals to redesign mental health services in Wigtownshire have been in development for some time. However, a recent failure of essential equipment has meant that plans have been brought forward. Our clinical teams are making sure that the needs of the people who currently use Darataigh are met and that transition to new services is as smooth as possible. There will be no compulsory redundancies.”