HEALTH bosses have confirmed that the two dementia wards at the Vale of Leven Hospital will remain open despite online rumours that they were under threat.

Staff and family members of patients on the Fruin and Katrine wards learnt of the plans through social media over the weekend, rather than the news being confirmed by any representative from the two public health bodies.

Helensburgh and Lomond’s MSP, Jackie Baillie, wrote urgently to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the West Dunbartonshire health and social care partnership and to the cabinet secretary for health, Jeane Freeman, to demand that the alleged plans are scrapped and that “staff and family members are given the respect and courtesy of being reassured about the future of the wards”.

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Ms Baillie said: “I was shocked and appalled to learn of these plans over the weekend. How anyone can think it is a good idea to cause such disruption and upheaval for dementia patients, their families and our hardworking staff is completely beyond me.

“Not only is the proposal incredibly ill-thought out, but the way that they have been announced and circulated is utterly unacceptable.

“Hearing that these wards are set to close from social media posts, rather than from health bosses, has been hugely distressing for all the staff who provide vital dementia care.”

Both the Fruin and Katrine wards provide specialist care for people in Helensburgh, Lomond, Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven suffering from dementia, as well as being a source of local support for the families in Helensburgh and Lomond and their loved ones.

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A spokesperson from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde told the Advertiser: “We would like to reassure patients, carers and the wider community that Fruin and Katrine wards at the Vale of Leven Hospital remain open.

“There have been a number of issues in relation to medical staffing cover for these wards. This is partly related to the pandemic, but there have been more general staffing pressures and locum staff have been provided to ensure appropriate cover.

“We have now been able to identify locum cover and arrangements are being finalised to ensure there is no disruption to services going forward. A recruitment campaign for permanent medical staff also continues.

“We would like to apologise for any uncertainty and concern that may have been caused and will make sure families and carers are kept fully informed of progress.”

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