If it is the case this means that the 30 beds at St Margaret’s Hospice will no longer be needed, could you please explain why money should be spent to commission and build a new facility when there is already a good new facility, built with voluntary sector funding, available?
Could the NHS Board and Cabinet Secretary please clarify the plans for the redevelopment of Blawarthill Hospital with particular reference to the number of continuing care beds for terminally-ill persons that are planned?
In April 2000, the then Greater Glasgow Health Board agreed to formal public consultation on the closure of both Blawarthill and Cowglen Hospitals. From the consultation it became clear that there was a strong case to rebuild and develop services for elderly people on the Blawarthill site, from a site that provided only stand-alone frail-elderly accommodation to one that could provide a range of social care services.
At its December 2000 meeting, the Board approved the retention and development of the Blawarthill site, with the initial phase to include 60 NHS beds and 60 care home beds. In doing this, the Board wanted to address the recognised shortfall in social care places and accessible housing in the west of Glasgow.
In January 2005, the Joint Community Care Committee approved a report describing a review of frail elderly continuing care in what was then the Greater Glasgow area. This report recommended a reduction of 30 beds in west Glasgow. Given the extant decision on NHS-provided beds at Blawarthill, the conclusion was that it would be no longer necessary to purchase 30 beds from St Margaret’s of Scotland.
In January 2008, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde received an update of the foregoing review and agreed that there should be further work along with St Margaret’s to consider future options for the continuing use of their frail elderly continuing care ward. Following a meeting between ourselves and representatives of St Margaret’s in May, we need to explore potential options in greater detail. Our aim is to ensure, whatever the final profile of continuing care that is agreed, that transitional arrangements are put in place to avoid any financial turbulence that might affect other services at St Margaret’s, including palliative care.