Care report is ‘damning’

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Health chiefs have been forced to issue an unreserved apology this week after inspectors slammed the care given at Stranraer’s hospital.

Galloway Community Hospital was inspected in an unnanounced visit last November and Health Improvement Scotland inspectors returned in January after finding they “could not be assured the care given was appropriate”.

The inspection was carried out on the Garrick and Dalrymple wards which care for the elderly. The return visit focused on the Dalrymple ward but found “no significant improvement”.

Paperwork was not being completed correctly and the report added: “We were concerned about the lack of willingness of medical staff to ensure that patients have the capacity to consent to treatment. We have referred this concern to the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.”

NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s Chief Executive, Jeff Ace, said this week: “This is a very disappointing report and we apologise that we have been unable to demonstrate best standards of care.

“Whilst it is reassuring that the inspectors witnessed compassionate and skilled interactions between staff and patients, it is clear that we have much work to do to improve the consistency of record keeping, care planning and delivery of best care practice to patients with degrees of confusion or dementia.

“NHS Dumfries and Galloway has accepted all the recommendations contained within the report. Of these recommendations 15 were prioritised and had actions taken immediately with the remainder aiming for completion before the end of March 2015.

“We have taken this report extremely seriously and are committed to continuing to work both with local staff and with Scottish Government advisors to ensure that we can demonstrate rapid and sustained improvement.”

Local politicians were quick to raise concerns over the report, with SNP MSP Aileen McLeod saying: “It is right that the Health Board has apologised for not meeting the highest standards of care.

“It is vital that people in Stranraer and the surrounding area can have be confident that the services they rely on at the Galloway Community Hospital are of the highest standard.

MP Russell Brown added: “The only way to describe this report is utterly damning. I think what is so frustrating is the fact that even when the inspectorate carried out a follow up visit a couple of months later there didn’t appear to be any significant improvement.”