The latest workshop (on Friday December 9) was attended by representatives of community groups, patient participation groups, community councils, The Highland Council, other local groups and organisations, GP practices, hospital and community staff and managers from Mid Highland Community Health Partnership (CHP).
Delegates who attended the first workshop in October asked for further information on the condition of the building together with details of how much it would cost to bring it up to standard.
NHS Highland Head of Estates, Eric Green, explained that the condition of the building is not favourable to the delivery of modern health care and it is estimated that it would cost £2.6 million to bring it up to the minimum standard. However, this would only take it back to its original condition and would not bring it up to modern healthcare environmental standards.
He said: “The building requires significant investment and the oldest part of the building does not provide a quality patient environment. We have looked at ways to modify the building and the possibility of redesigning the layout in the old part of the building, and it is pretty much impossible to make it compliant with current standards.
“There is significant risk of increased disturbance due to failures of some of the systems in the hospital, including the heating, electrical and plumbing systems.”
Locality General Manager, Alison Phimister, explained that a number of options had been suggested by the project team and during conversations with members of the public and staff:-
• The status quo or minimum intervention
• Improving the hospital building to bring it up to standards
• Building a new hospital
• Building a new wing on the hospital to replace the inpatient medical beds
• Closing the inpatient medical beds and refocusing all resources on the development of a day hospital service and community support services
• Fewer inpatient medical beds provided in a different part of hospital with some refocusing of resources into the development of a day hospital service and community support services
• Closing the inpatient medical beds with services provided in a different hospital location, such as Raigmore or Invergordon
• Five day admission so no patients stay over the weekend with some refocusing of resources on community support services
The delegates then split into groups to identify which options best met the criteria identified as important by those who participated in the earlier workshop. At this stage, costs were not taken into consideration. This work will follow at a later date.
The option which the delegates believed met most of the criteria was a service that provided integrated health, social care and voluntary sector services, providing a one stop shop for community and outreach services, including the provision of inpatient beds provided on a single site in a new hospital.
This was followed by improving the hospital building to bring it up to required standards and the third highest scoring option was to build a new wing on the hospital to accommodate the inpatient medical beds.
Mid Highland CHP Head of Finance, Tom Slavin, told the delegates that, in line with other health boards across Scotland and the public sector as a whole, NHS Highland is facing a much reduced budget over the coming years.
He said: “For this financial year, after all commitments were taken into consideration, NHS Highland only had £1.7 million for capital expenditure across the whole of Highland and Argyll and Bute.
Okain McLennan, who is Chair of Mid Highland CHP Governance Committee, added that, if plans for the future of the site included any building, alternative sources of funding would have to be considered.
Mrs Phimister closed the event by explaining the next steps in the review process. She said: “We will provide a progress report to the CHP governance committee on December 16. They will then advise us what additional information is needed.
Having completed this non financial benefit scoring of the options, each option will now be subject to sensitivity analysis, risk assessment and cost benefit analysis. This rigorous process ensures that the final report will include all the necessary detail to enable the Board of NHS Highland to consider the options for future service provision in this area.
A similar process will be followed for all services delivered from this site, including casualty, Out of Hours, outpatients department, dental services and community physiotherapy..
After the event, steering group Chair, Highland Councillor Margaret Paterson, who is also a member of the Mid Highland CHP Committee, said: “I would like to thank all the people who have given up their time to take part in these workshops.
“As we had wide representation at this event, we now know what the public desire and this will be taken into account in future decisions.
“This is not the end of the journey. We still have a long way to go and work will continue into next year. We need to find the best way to deliver services for people in Dingwall and the surrounding areas at the Ross Memorial Hospital.”
Notes for Editors:-
The event was organised by the Ross Memorial Hospital Designing Services for the Future Steering Group to continue the work started at a workshop in the Ross-shire town in October.
These workshops form part of a review of all services provided from the Ross Memorial Hospital site. This in turn will inform a Highland-wide review to improve the quality of services, with a focus on prevention, anticipation of needs and supported self management, so that everyone is able to live longer healthier lives at home or in the community for as long as possible.
The following services are delivered from the Ross Memorial Hospital site:-
• Inpatient services predominantly for the elderly
• Rheumatology inpatient and day services including physiotherapy and occupational therapy
• Dental services
• A wide variety of out patient clinics
• X-ray services and Dexa scanning
• Out patient physiotherapy
• Out of Hours