South Scotland

Reprieve for Darataigh dementia unit in Stranraer

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A dementia unit in Stranraer has been given a temporary reprieve, a week after NHS Dumfries and Galloway announced its closure.

The health board agreed to shut Darataigh mental health facility after its boiler failed.

It led to concerns that some patients had been transferred to Midpark Hospital in Dumfries, 72 miles away.

The board said it would now repair the boiler and commit to a consultation on future mental health provision.

In a statement, it said it was committed to a six-month period of "extensive engagement" on plans to provide a community-based mental health service in Wigtownshire.

During that time Darataigh will "have the potential" to accept admissions from the Dumfries hospital.

The statement added: "The board apologises for any distress or concern caused by the poor communication on this matter."

'Reassure people'

The move has been welcomed by local politicians who have lobbied local NHS board chief executive Jeff Ace over the controversial move.

MP Richard Arkless said: "This announcement caused massive concern and unhappiness in my home town and it could have been avoided.

"I have been very clear that the NHS needs to explain its plans to people in Stranraer more clearly than it has - and crucially tell us why they would be better than what we have now.

He added: "I am pleased there has been a degree of movement from them and an admission this could, and should, have been done better.

"We have secured the future of Darataigh for the next six months - what really needs to happen now is that NHS Dumfries and Galloway speaks to the community in Stranraer and reassures people that their plans will deliver better services for very vulnerable people in the town and surrounding area."

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