Palliative care services in Arbroath are due to be enhanced according to a medical director with NHS Tayside.
The comment from the local health authority comes in the wake of suggestions last week that the closure of Little Cairnie Hospital was imminent, and although this has not been officially confirmed, the Herald understands that plans are advancing to improve the standard of palliative care in Arbroath as a whole through the rolling out of a community team-led programme.
Dr Andrew Russell, medical director with NHS Tayside, said: “Little Cairnie provides inpatient care for older people. It is not a palliative care unit and does not provide specialist palliative care services as the open bay environment is not suited to providing this and there are no single rooms to maintain dignity and privacy.
“Angus patients can be reassured that palliative care services are delivered in Arbroath Infirmary by specialist nurses.
“The local community care team is also being enhanced to provide palliative care to more patients in their homes, which is where the majority of patients tell us they prefer to be treated.
“NHS Tayside, in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, is funding a range of improvements which will provide enhanced palliative care services across Angus.
“As part of this work, Arbroath Infirmary will benefit from three palliative care bedrooms all with en suite bathrooms, a new palliative day assessment and treatment facility including two new consultation and treatment rooms, a patient lounge, a quiet room and a reception area.
“Work has already commenced in preparing detailed drawings for these improvements and NHS Tayside Estates Division will start enabling works to facilitate the full project from April 2015.”
Earlier this week Bill Nicoll, director of primary and community services for NHS Tayside, explained that consultations were in progress with the aim of introducing staff to the Enhanced Community Support system which is currently running successfully in Carnoustie, Monifieth and Broughty Ferry.
Mr Nicoll also stated: “There has been no decision to close Little Cairnie and we are continuing to care for patients there.
“If there comes a situation where, on a particular day, we had no in patients in the ward and no one waiting to be admitted we would sensibly redeploy our staff in line with the clinical need and care requirements of our patients in the South Angus locality.
“This is part of the day-to-day management of all our units across Tayside to ensure person-centred, safe and effective care for everyone.”