Angus MP Kirstene Hair has written to the chief executive of NHS Tayside seeking clarity on reports that a local hospice was closed without notice for nearly two weeks.
The Scottish Conservative politician has also raised questions as to why the Lippen Care charity was not consulted before Strathmore Hospice, at the Whitehills Centre in Forfar, was shut.
Ms Hair has paid tribute to the “incredible” work undertaken by those involved with the charity to raise the funds to provide palliative care. Strathmore offers inpatient care for people with cancer or other progressive conditions in the Forfar and Kirriemuir area.
There are concerns locally that the facility may be facing the prospect of permanent closure.
Ms Hair said:
“I was concerned to hear that Strathmore Hospice was closed for 12 days without notice or consultation, although I welcome the fact that it is now open once more.
“Considering the incredible work carried out by Lippen Care to raise the necessary funds to help provide palliative care, I am surprised that NHS Tayside did not consult anyone from the charity before taking this action.
“I am also seeking clarity on the reasons behind the temporary closure and would like to know if any alternative care options were explored or offered to patients.
“I am seriously concerned that this may be a change in policy – whether official or otherwise – that is designed to reduce the number of patients in the ward with the intention of justifying its closure.
“Clearly, it would be totally unacceptable for this to be taking place and I hope that NHS Tayside can reassure me and my constituents in Angus that this is not the case.
“While I understand that NHS Tayside is under considerable strain now in staffing and funding I would expect that any services being withdrawn – particularly the closure of important local services such as that provided initially by Lippen Care – would be consulted on and not by the back door.”