Health Secretary Confirms: ‘No Plans for IRH Unit to Close’

Cabinet Secretary for Health Shona Robison MSP has stated that rumours circulated about supposed closure of a ward at Inverclyde Royal Hospital are unfounded.

During General Question time at the Scottish Parliament last week, Stuart McMillan MSP raised concerns that an anonymous member of staff had released information to the local newspaper to suggest that the ITU ward was earmarked for closure.

However, the Greenock and Inverclyde MSP had received no communication from the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board to suggest that this was under consideration.

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Stuart said:

“The Greenock Telegraph recently reported that employees and consultants have been informally told that the intensive treatment unit, which caters for patients at the IRH who need intensive treatment after an operation, will close in January.

“Can the Cabinet Secretary inform me whether that issue was raised [during a recent meeting] with the chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde? Why has there been no official dialogue between NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and staff and elected representatives over the plans for the ITU?”

In response, Cabinet Secretary for Health Shona Robison stated:

“Stuart McMillan will be aware that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde responded to concerns and confirmed that there are currently no proposals to alter the services delivered by the ITU at Inverclyde royal hospital.

“I expect all health boards to undertake proper and meaningful engagement with local stakeholders in the shaping and delivery of healthcare services, and local people can be assured that the national health service in Scotland has well-established guidance on service changes.

“It remains the case that any proposals that are designated as major changes would have to be the subject of formal public consultation and, ultimately, ministerial approval.

“I reiterate that there are currently no proposals to alter the services at the ITU at Inverclyde royal hospital and that nothing has come to me.”

Commenting afterwards, Stuart said:

“I’m glad at this reiteration from the Cabinet Secretary that services at the IRH are safe. This confirms that the SNP is the only party standing up for the NHS in Scotland. We will always work hard to protect our NHS from a hard Brexit and yet more Tory cuts.”

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