North East MSP Mike Rumbles and Angus Councillor David May are urging the Scottish Government to take action over the possible closure of the Mulberry mental health ward in Stracathro Hospital.
NHS Tayside has not ruled out that one of the three mental health facilities in the area may be under threat. Campaigners in Angus are concerned that the Mulberry Unit has already been identified as the preferred option for the closure.
The unit is the largest at the Susan Carnegie Centre, with 25 beds for acute admission, assessment and treatment of adult with mental health problems. The state of the art centre was opened in December 2011 at a cost of £20 million.
Mr Rumbles said: “We have made significant headway in recent years promoting and raising awareness about mental health treatment in Scotland. The Scottish Government have pledged to support that cause - and put provision for mental care at the top of the health agenda. So it beggars belief that NHS Tayside or the Scottish Government would even consider closing this state of the art facility.
“I have asked the Minister to clarify the Scottish Government’s position on this case. Having equality of access to mental health treatment is not a luxury but a necessity for many people in the North East and across Scotland. I see no good reason why communities and vulnerable people in Angus should be singled out in this way.”
Mr May said: “We need to be expanding mental health provision not reducing it. At a time when the Scottish Health Minister makes comment that mental health provision is a priority, how can she say this and enable the opposite to happen.
“NHS Tayside also has a lot of explaining to do. Closing the facility would have an impact on crisis help in Angus as well as community-based care. It is obvious that closure will mean additional travel and costs for many patients and staff, and support from family and friends for patients will be more difficult. I call for a guarantee from the health minister to ensure that the £20 million 25 bed unit only opened in December 2011 remains open" ”
Notes for editors:
- For more information on the Mulberry Unit and its work please go to:http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/GoingToHospital/OurPremisesA-Z/StracathroHospital/PROD_210713/index.htm
- For the local petition to prevent the closure of the Mulberry unit please got to:https://www.change.org/p/nhs-tayside-stop-the-proposed-closure-of-the-mulberry-unit-angus-acute-mental-health-inpatient-ward/u/16342499