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NHS Highland gives commitment over reopening of Minor Injuries Unit at Golspie but timescale indefinite

By Caroline McMorran

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NHS Highland's lead manager has said that East Sutherland's minor injuries unit, which has been closed since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, will reopen, but not in its existing premises.

Chief executive Pam Dudek gave the reassurance after being asked by Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant why the unit, located at the Lawson Memorial Hospital complex in Golspie, remained shut.

Fears over its future were expressed last month at a meeting of Golspie Community Council.

Ms Dudek told Mrs Grant that a review of the unit's accommodation had taken place - it is currently sited in a small room off the foyer of the Cambusavie Unit, sited next to the Lawson

She said: “This has been reviewed and there is a plan in place to move the unit to another area where it will have its own entrance and dedicated staff will be allocated. The contingency plan that was put in place in March 2020 (when the unit closed) remains in place.”

Patients requiring to be seen in the minor injuries unit are being routed to their own GP and seen in their local practice.

Ms Dudek continued: “Anyone from out of area requiring a consultation is seen in the GP practice which is covering the Lawson in-patient ward at the time.

"The flow navigation centre (111 calls) is aware of this plan and route people as appropriate. At present we are unable to give any timescales around reopening as this is determined by when building work can be completed.”

Mrs Grant welcomed the news that the unit would be getting its own space, but added: “I am keen to see this progressing as we are coming out of Covid restrictions and it would be good to see work starting on consulting the community and getting the plans in action.

“Also, I would like to see more detail on the plans as to where the new unit will be, where the staff will come from and a timeline for the development. I would hate to see facilities like this unit being eroded in rural areas.”

The MSP wrote to NHS Highland following a constituent’s inquiry and complaints that the public were unaware of the closure.

Mrs Grant is also concerned about the future of the closed Strathy ward at Migdale Hospital, in Bonar Bridge, and is keen to see what NHS Highland is planning when Covid restrictions are lifted.

MSP Rhoda Grant.
MSP Rhoda Grant.

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