Friends of Insch Hospital and Community

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Statement from the Friends, May 2021

On 25 March 2020, Insch War Memorial Hospital was closed as a precautionary measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date we have had no reassurance from NHS Grampian and Aberdeenshire Health & Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) that our hospital will re-open. The Friends would like our community to be fully aware of the enormity of this potential loss and the very real impact a permanent closure will have on the health and wellbeing of our patient population. The need for local services is increasing. Being cared for by the Local health professionals who have worked closely as a team for years, and know you best, has to be beneficial for everyone. It is important that everyone understands that keeping our IN-PATIENT BEDS is ESSENTIAL

Without in-patient beds our community would lose:

  • PALLIATIVE CARE BEDS End of life patients would have to go to Inverurie or Huntly hospitals, but only if beds are available there, often ARI or home would be their only option.
  • LOCAL REHABILITATION BEDS with Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and many other multidisciplinary services input. Rehabilitation post operation or severe illness at any age can be lengthy and services provided locally aid that rehabilitation and allow families to also be closely involved in their family members' care.
  • GP ACUTE BEDS where unwell patients can be cared for locally with all the services they require in place. Not all unwell patients can be cared for at home, but not all unwell patients need the services of ARI. Local GP beds are essential to care for these patients.
  • Across Aberdeenshire, many more community beds are being lost so patients from Insch may end up in ARI, as has already happened this winter.
Although not In-patient services we could also lose:
  • MINOR INJURIES SERVICE If anyone becomes ill or hurts themselves at school, work or home and requires to be assessed, they will need to go another NHS24 location somewhere else in Aberdeenshire.
  • DAY CASE TREATMENTS Services such as blood transfusions would no longer be available in Insch. Patients would have to travel to Inverurie or Huntly to receive this care, a challenge for those who do not have their own transport or family in the area who can help, given the poor local transport links.

Always Innovative, Forward Thinking and Securing the Future

Friends of Insch Hospital and Community have tried over many years to respect the innovative decision of the community in 1919 to build for the future from the destruction of the past and secure the future of the hospital, by participating in several NHS Grampian and AHSCP reviews of Insch Hospital. They have developed many community led initiatives, including a vision to replace the hospital building with the agreement in principle that NHS Grampian would continue to provide the revenue for running the hospital.

Challenges

The Friends have been involved in community funded initiatives that have benefiFed the hospital but our hospital has suffered from a lack of investment over decades, well before the pandemic despite various improvement plans suggested by the Friends. In January 2020 NHS Grampian confirmed that funding for the boiler for the hospital, which badly needed replaced, was assured and the work would be done. We have since been told that the quote for this work is out of date and no works to improve the hospital will be allowed during COVID. The Friends feel that this is an opportunity missed to get much needed work done whilst the hospital is closed to patients. Prior to closure, bed numbers were cut at the hospital because of staff shortages, not because of any identified assessment of patient need. The Friends submitted plans last month to NHS Grampian which we believe would allow Insch Hospital to reopen with 8 single rooms. The Friends would like the re-deployed Insch staff team to be allowed to return to their roles in Insch. The Friends have steadfastly tried to engage with NHS Grampian and AHSCP for over 30 years to enable our hospital to realise its potential and to continue to provide innovative and truly patient focused care.

We need the community to pull together and let NHSG and the AHSCP know that this is a service the community wants and deserves. Insch Hospital is ideally placed geographically to continue to serve the whole of Central Aberdeenshire as it has done for decades. The AHSCP have stated they plan 'to review the provision of health & social care services in the Insch area including the use of the hospital site'. If you are keen to be kept updated please email us at info@friendsofinschhospital.org .

You may also contact AHSCP directly with your views or to ask any questions about the provision of health and social care in our area. aberdeenshireHSCP@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

As you know, the Friends have been working for many years to support Insch War Memorial Hospital. This is a great opportunity for your views to count when decisions are going to be made about what health and social care in the area will look like in the future.

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A Thank You

We would like to say a sincere 'Thank You' to all our anonymous donors. Throughout the year we receive money from people who have handed in donations for us via the hospital or Health Centre or have even paid money directly into our account at the TSB. Often people leave no contact details and sometimes not even a name. This usually means that we cannot thank people for their kindness. If you are one of those donors, please be assured that we really appreciate your generosity.

If however, you are making a donation to us and don't mind leaving contact details, please do so. We always like to say thank you more personally when we can.

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