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‘It should be made a priority’: Concerns of no timescale for reopening of Turriff minor injuries unit

turriff minor injuries unit
Turriff minor injuries unit. Photo: Google

Concerns have been raised about the lack of a timescale to reopen the Turriff minor injuries unit.

The Aberdeenshire unit has been shut since the Covid lockdown began in 2020 to concentrate services and resources.

Now North East MSP Douglas Lumsden has raised concerns to Health Secretary Humza Yousaf regarding its continued closure.

Mr Lumsden is among those that say the health care needs of the Aberdeenshire town are being ignored.

It comes after Health Secretary Humza Yousaf confirmed that there was no timescale for when the unit would reopen.

Mr Lumsden together with Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid said that the closure is putting residents lives at risk.

Despite other units, including Fraserburgh and Peterhead reopening in 2020 and Banff offering limited services from the start of 2022, Turriff remains closed.

In a letter, Mr Yousaf confirmed, following a meeting with NHS Grampian, that the closure was still considered temporary – but offered no timeframe on reopening.

‘Not in a position to commit to timescales due to current staffing difficulties’

In a letter addressed to Mr Lumsden, after he raised concerns, Mr Yousaf cited staffing difficulties as the reason the facility remains shut.

He wrote: “At this point, the board is not in a position to commit to timescales due to current staffing difficulties however I will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide you with an update when available.

Humza Yousaf
Mr Yousef cited staffing difficulties for the continued closure of Turrif MIU.

“The Scottish Government remains committed to ensuring the people of Scotland receive a high standard of care and while we accept there is increased pressure on NHS services, work is currently underway within NHS Grampian, with the support of health and social care partnerships, to deliver more care in the community, and where possible at home, avoiding the need to go to hospital unnecessarily.

In the letter, Mr Yousef suggested possible alternatives to the Turriff minor injuries unit, including Peterhead, which is a 60-mile round trip for patients.

The closest unit to Turriff is Huntly, 40 miles there and back, making it difficult for people with limited access to transport.

‘I will continue to push for a reopening date for this valuable service’

In response to the letter, Mr Lumsden said: “I appreciate Mr Yousaf meeting with NHS Grampian after I raised the issue at Holyrood but what I don’t appreciate is that the SNP Government have yet to address the staffing issues at the MIU in the two years since it closed.

“Patients in Turriff have been left with extremely limited medical cover and there seems to be no end in sight to this woeful situation.

Douglas Lumsden will continue to call for the reopening of the Turriff MIU which is a vital service for the community.

“It’s high time the needs of the town are made a priority and not an afterthought which is why I will continue to push for a reopening date for this valuable service.”

Due to the pandemic, certain procedures for how you are assessed as a patient have changed. Before you were able to get a walk-in appointment but since Covid-19 all appointments are done through NHS24.

Mr Duguid has repeatedly raised concerns over the closure of Turriff MIU and the continued shortfall in health provisions such as GPs and ambulances.

He expressed that “Turriff residents, in particular, always seem to be left behind” while saying the situation was “completely unacceptable”.

Mr Duguid has committed to continuing his efforts for the MIU’s reopening as it would provide a critical service for the community.

NHS Grampian has been contacted for comment.

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