Glasgow & West Scotland

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to close Integrative Care beds

Protesters outside NHS meeting
Image caption Ahead of the meeting in Glasgow, protesters gathered outside to make their views known

Scotland's largest health board has voted to close inpatient beds at a Glasgow site which previously operated as the Homeopathic Hospital.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde voted to remove seven beds from the Centre for Integrative Care at Gartnavel Hospital.

The move is part of wider measures the health board is considering to save about £69m in the coming year.

It has also agreed to consult on changing birthing services at Inverclyde and Vale of Leven hospitals.

The consultation could result in some birthing units closing but the final decision will have to be made by Health Secretary Shona Robison.

The health board will also begin a consultation on changing services for the elderly at Lightburn hospital in Glasgow.

It is likely to recommend that such services would be better provided in the community.

Clinical need

The closure of birthing services at Inverclyde Royal Hospital in Greenock and the Vale of Leven in Alexandria have been designated as "major service changes" because they could reduce accessibility for patients.

This means a decision has to be made by the Scottish government.

Under the current health board plans, women would give birth at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and Glasgow maternity units.

However, the proposals for the Centre for Integrative Care were declared a minor service change, on advice from the Scottish Health Council. So the health secretary will not need to approve the decision.

The NHS Centre for Integrative Care, the only such service in Scotland, offers a range of complementary therapies for people with long term conditions such as chronic pain, low energy or low mood or anxiety issues.

Its website claims: "Integrative is a term which refers to increasing the harmony and coherence of your whole being.

"Integrative care is therefore focused on the person, not on either the disease or a particular therapy."

Scottish ministers previously said they would not approve any plans that "do not properly reflect" local concerns.

The board has claimed that the proposals are motivated by the clinical need for change and would not in themselves save £69m.

The health secretary has pointed out that the government had ended "damaging uncertainty" and secured services at the Vale of Leven back in 2009.

She said it had also rejected proposals to close Lightburn Hospital in 2011 "because both patients and clinicians were of the view that the hospital provided high quality services that were greatly valued by the community".

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