NHS Dumfries and Galloway has postponed its plans to close the Darataigh unit in Stranraer for six months to ‘engage with the public’ on a new model of service.
The NHS board had announced the closure of the unit last week but agreed to delay the closure for six months following meetings with the area’s MP and MSP.
The board says that the adoption of a new community-based service means that the unit, which treats patients with dementia, will have to close.
A statement from NHS Dumfries and Galloway said: “NHS Dumfries and Galloway aims to provide a modern, community based service for people with dementia across the region.
“Our proposals for Wigtownshire include increasing nursing and support staff in the CMHT so we can provide an enhanced service to support people when they are experiencing a crisis.
“This is in addition to the services we will provide to support people with dementia and their carers either at home or in a homely setting.
“The proposals to enhance the community based service mean we have to withdraw from the inpatient provisions at Darataigh and increase our community resource.
“It is important to note that these proposals have been developed by clinical teams who firmly believe that the shift to the new model of care will provide a more effective service to the people of Wigtownshire.
“One of the key aims of this redesign is to provide care and treatment in a way that reduces the need for hospital admissions.”
Galloway’s MSP Aileen McLeod and MP Richard Arkless welcomed the announcement by NHS Dumfries & Galloway that the Darataigh Unit in Stranraer will re-open for a six month period to allow for full engagement and consultation with the community on the future provision of services for dementia patients in Wigtownshire.
The SNP say the move follows approaches by both the MSP and MP to the chief executive over the past week to ask for the recent closure to be reconsidered.
Aileen McLeod said: “We have both had lengthy discussions with Jeff Ace about this issue and we have been very clear that changes like this need to be made with public support and confidence that the proposed replacement services will be better than what Stranraer has now.
“That didn’t happen this time but I am pleased that NHS D&G has agreed with us that the best way forward is to reopen Darataigh for now and really engage with the community in Stranraer to explain their plans.”
Richard Arkless said: “This announcement caused massive concern and unhappiness in my home town and it could have been avoided. We have secured the future of Darataigh for the next six months – what really needs to happen now is that NHS D&G speaks to the community in Stranraer and reassures people that their plans will deliver better services for very vulnerable people in the town and surrounding area.”