Cllr David May and Mike Rumbles MSP today reiterated their opposition to any possible closure of the Mulberry Unit at Stracathro Hospital.
Cllr May, a member of the Angus Integration Joint Board, stated at its meeting on 31st August his continuing disagreement with any possibility of the essential mental health unit closing.
The Mulberry Unit, a part of the Susan Carnegie Centre at Stracathro Hospital provides vital acute mental health services to adults. Service users would be forced to uproot to Dundee for services should the unit close. Closure of the unit would also have implications on crisis help and community based care in the rural areas of Angus.
Speaking after the meeting Cllr May said: “Two of the four options for restructuring mental health services in Tayside presented to the Board mean the closure of this essential facility that serves our rural communities. This is not only a disaster for Angus but goes against the Scottish Governments own 2020 vision for service provision. If patients are required to be sent to Dundee this would make travel and costs for staff, family and friends more prohibitive which can only have a negative effect on a patients recovery.
“It is clear that the main basis for this change in mental health service provision across our region is the lack of staff. There is a problem recruiting all levels of mental health staff and the age profile is a major concern, with a large number of staff eligible to retire in the next ten years.
“The First Minister needs to focus on matters closer to home and take radical steps to sort out this mental health staffing crisis which the SNP administration has presided over for the last 10 years.
Mr Rumbles, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for the North East added: “I have previously raised concerns with the Scottish Ministers regarding the future of services at Stracathro Hospital and the Mulberry Unit, vital services for people in Angus. The underfunding of mental health services continues to be a major issue, for which the SNP government must accept responsibility and commit to serious investment. This is the only way to ensure that our communities receive the services they have been promised in the 2020 vision, which they rightly deserve.”