Mulberry concerns raised with Minister

Susan Carngie Centre at Stracathro Hospital
Susan Carngie Centre at Stracathro Hospital

Angus North and Mearns MSP, Mairi Evans, has followed up on her vow to make the Mulberry Unit her top priority.

Ms Evans has contacted the new Minister for Mental Health, Maureen Watt, about the issue.

Ms Evans commented: “I said that the Mulberry Unit would be my top priority after this election, that is why I have contacted the new Minister for Mental Health outlining the current situation and ongoing threat to the unit.

“I will be doing everything within my power to prevent the closure of this vital facility. The initial report considered by the health board in March was fundamentally flawed. There was no financial information provided at all, the small amount of consultation done for the purpose of that report was late, tokenistic and not representative. Quite simply the report was poor and misleading and is no basis on which to make a sound decision.

“My utmost concern is the effect possible closure could have on service users, carers and the wider community. This is about fair, equitable and safe access and it is not right or fair that those living in Angus should be at a disadvantage when it comes to mental health care and provision.

“I am, along with my Angus South MSP colleague Graeme Dey, also seeking a meeting with NHS Tayside Board Chairman Professor John Connell.

“I know Graeme engaged extensively with Professor Connell, prior to the election, over the concerns some of his constituents had in relation both to the original consultation process and the threat to the Mulberry Unit. We are looking to follow up on those discussions and explore how Mental Health services in general might be developed across Angus.”

An NHS Tayside spokesperson said: “Following the Board’s approval to reduce the number of acute adult mental health hospital admission sites for Tayside to ensure the sustainable delivery of safe and effective services, stakeholder workshops are being held to identify, develop and propose the most appropriate options for a one-site or two-site model for inpatient service delivery.

“Recognising the need for wider stakeholder engagement in identifying and considering options for a new service delivery model, the three Tayside Integrated Joint Boards/ Health and Social Care Partnerships have been asked to nominate representatives of service users and carers, and from clinical, managerial and support staff involved in the provision of services.

“The Options Appraisal workshops will take place in June and training in the options appraisal process will be offered to all participants in advance to support them in the process.

“During July and August, a full business case will be developed from the outcome of the options appraisal events with supporting data, financial appraisal, impact assessments and including the feedback gathered during the engagement process.

“Any change to inpatient services will be planned and developed alongside a strengthened model of community based services. This is in keeping with the Scottish Government’s objective of Shifting the Balance of Care, aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people by increasing emphasis on health improvement and anticipatory care, providing more continuous care and more support closer to home.

“NHS Tayside is committed to providing high quality effective services in a sustainable and safe way for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”