Dementia unit closes

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THE Buchanhaven Ward at Peterhead’s Ugie Hospital is to close later this month.

It is being replaced by a new purpose-built in-patient dementia assessment unit, covering the population of North Aberdeenshire, which is due to open in Fraserburgh Hospital at the end of May.

NHS Grampian said the move was part of a “redesign of dementia services in Aberdeenshire” and would replace existing facilities at the Ugie and at Campbell Hospital in Portsoy.

A spokesperson said: “As part of the redesign, community-based services are also being developed throughout the area to support patients and their families at home.

“At the end of May, the nine assessment patients currently in Buchanhaven will transfer to the new facility, and the three remaining long-stay patients will move to nursing homes in the locality.

“These changes have taken place with full and positive discussions with relatives and staff before and throughout the planning stages.”

But the move has disappointed some members of the community who claim it will be a tremendous loss to the town.Former nurse Anne Smith (74), of Hatton, was greatly impressed by the level of care and commitment shown to her late husband John who was in the Buchanhaven Ward for four years.

She told the Buchanie: “It is a very sad day indeed. We are losing a place of excellence well beyond expectations, as Buchanhaven Ward at the Ugie Hospital closes at the end of May.

“The team at the Unit nurse and provide medical care for patients with dementia usually from admission until they die, as they did my late husband.

“This very serious and complex condition requires great skill and understanding which is in abundance there.

“In my experience this is not available outwith the National Health Service. Caring for dementia should not be carried out for profit especially without the skills required.

“That being the current position, I would suggest that all staff in private nursing homes should have at least one year’s training in the specialist subject with the NHS. and this should be paid for by the profit makers who own such places.”