Fight on for local care

Local MP Richard Arkless has written to the Health Board for a second time in an effort to help a Stranraer women win her fight to receive her cancer treatment locally at the Galloway Hospital.

The treatment, which involves a minor clinical procedure, had previously been carried out at the Galloway Hospital until a specialist nursing staff shortage meant that the Health Board could no longer sustain the service in Stranraer.

The patient was then presented with two options - either travel to Dumfries to receive the treatment at DGRI or have it administered within her own home in Stranraer.

Mr Arkless wrote to the Heath Board to highlight his constituents position saying: “For various reasons, my constituent does not want to receive the treatment in her own home – that should be her choice. She should not then have to be forced to travel all the way to DGRI – there should be another option and that option should be the Galloway Hospital which is fit for purpose and conveniently located.”

In response to Mr Arkless’s initial letter, the Health Board said that, ‘this is a short term situation that we do hope to get resolved quickly adding that ‘it is the Board’s intention to ensure our specialist nursing vacancies are filled and the service at Stranraer returns to its previous level’.

The Health Board went on to say that the at home treatment option is delivered through a private home care company by their specialist staff adding that ‘this service is not available for in-hospital treatment’.

Mr Arkless added: “My constituent fails to understand the Health Board’s rationale and I share her concerns. The Board appears to be saying that because it is a private provider who administers the treatment on behalf of the NHS, it cannot be administered in the Stranraer hospital but can be in the Dumfries hospital. Again it seems as if the distance for patients in the West is not the primary concern. My constituent is furious about this scenario and I must say I share her fury. It can’t be that difficult to allow the private provider to use a room in Galloway Hospital.”