Future of Ugie to be debated

Public is to have its say on the future of the Ugie Hospital
Public is to have its say on the future of the Ugie Hospital

The local community is to be consulted on the future of services provided at Peterhead’s Ugie Hospital next week.

The five-option discussion comes as part of a region-wide drive to deliver, better, more holistic, patient-centred services across Aberdeenshire.

The community is being invited to attend an information event at the Rescue Hall on Tuesday, April 17 from 3pm-7pm where all of the options which have been identified will be looked at, questions answered and feedback gathered.

Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) is leading the review into the services delivered at the Ugie Hospital which was built in 1907 as the infectious diseases hospital for Peterhead and the surrounding area.

Throughout its long history, it has served various roles and currently provides 14 inpatient beds on its Ravenscraig Ward used for patients who have been discharged from Aberdeen Hospitals but who continue to require further rehabilitation prior to returning home.

Since its formation in 2016, the AHSCP has overseen many changes to how health and social care services are delivered across communities in Aberdeenshire.

Through joint working and practices, such as Virtual Community Wards, the AHSCP has seen an increase in the number of patients who are able to be cared for in their own homes and within their own communities.

Five options are currently being considered for Peterhead’s Ugie Hospital, the first of which would see investment being made to modernise the facility.

But the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) will advise those attending the April 17 meeting, that not only would this option be costly, it would have to be considered as a long-term option and funding would have to be identified.

That would also mean that inpatient beds would continue to be split across two sites, with patients at the Ugie not having easy access to services such as x-rays. Consideration would have to be given as to whether Ugie is in the right location and provides easy access to the whole of the area.

The second option us to use capacity at other local hospitals such as Peterhead Community Hospital and Fraserburgh Hospital which could potentially provide additional inpatient beds.

All inpatient services would be on one site, with access to the same services such as x-rays. AHSCP says it would be easier to address any staffing issues should they arise.

Introduction of an enhanced community-based rehabilitation services is the third option. AHSCP says patients could return home from Aberdeen Hospitals with rehabilitation services being delivered to them at home such as cccupational therapy and physiotherapy. Some patients would still require inpatient care.

The fourth option on the table is the provision of rehabilitation beds in local care homes. The AHSCP says that in some areas of the country which do not have the same access to community hospitals there are contracts with care homes to provide rehabilitation facilities, often called intermediate care beds. This is different from simply moving to a care home as it’s for a limited period of time and still has treatment from therapists.

This has been a successful option where it has been used.

It may offer inpatient facilities closer to home for some patients not from Peterhead. There would have to be a review of availability of beds in care homes.

The fifth option is to create inpatient beds at the future North Care & Support Village, but this is a long-term project and would not address the current need for refurbishment at Ugie.

AHSCP says inpatient beds would still be split across two sites and the move would require significant capital investment from the NHS.