THE THEMES of past, present and future formed the basis for a service of thanksgiving in Hillside on Friday to mark the forthcoming closure of Sunnyside Royal Hospital.
Conducted in Hillside Church by the Rev. Linda Broadley, the open service offered a chance for the local community to reflect on the hospital’s role along with others with a connection to Sunnyside.
In his opening address, NHS Tayside chairman Sandy Watson said the occasion allowed everyone to celebrate the hospital’s achievements before new mental health facilities open at Stracathro.
He said: “It is also fitting to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of all the staff who have provided care for patients and supported families over the many years.
“We are moving to a new chapter in mental health services and I firmly believe that by building on the past Angus mental health services can look forward to a positive future.”
Present and former staff, as well as patients, contributed to the afternoon service with poems and selected readings chosen carefully to reflect the three themes. The first poem, ‘The old clock on the stairs’, was read by Ian Taylor, NHS Tayside substance misuse services manager who has spent 36 years working at Sunnyside.
Further poems included ‘Look Closer Nurse’, which was written by former nurse Phyllis McCormack and read by her son Mike McCormack.
Consultant psychiatrist Dr Chris Pell also highlighted future aspirations and new developments in mental health services including the move to Stracathro.
The new £95 million facilities are expected to be handed over to the health authority in late October this year, with patients and staff transferring from Sunnyside a month later.
The afternoon ended with refreshments in the church hall after the service.