Government urged to take action over Mulberry Unit fears

Susan Carngie Centre at Stracathro Hospital
Susan Carngie Centre at Stracathro Hospital

Liberal Democrat North East MSP Mike Rumbles and Angus Lib Dem councillor David May are urging the Scottish Government to take action over the possible closure of the Mulberry Unit in Stracathro Hospital.

NHS Tayside has not ruled out that one of the three mental health facilities in the area may be under threat. Campaigners in Angus are concerned that the Mulberry Unit has already been identified as the preferred option for the closure.

Mr Rumbles said: “We have made significant headway in recent years promoting and raising awareness about mental health treatment in Scotland. The Scottish Government have pledged to support that cause - and put provision for mental care at the top of the health agenda. So it beggars belief that NHS Tayside or the Scottish Government would even consider closing this state of the art facility.

“I have asked the Minister to clarify the Scottish Government’s position on this case. Having equality of access to mental health treatment is not a luxury but a necessity for many people in the North East and across Scotland. I see no good reason why communities and vulnerable people in Angus should be singled out in this way.”

Mr May added: “We need to be expanding mental health provision not reducing it. At a time when the Scottish Health Minister makes comment that mental health provision is a priority, how can she say this and enable the opposite to happen.

“NHS Tayside also has a lot of explaining to do. Closing the facility would have an impact on crisis help in Angus as well as community-based care. It is obvious that closure will mean additional travel and costs for many patients and staff, and support from family and friends for patients will be more difficult. I call for a guarantee from the health minister to ensure that the £20 million 25 bed unit only opened in December 2011 remains open.”