Argyllshire Advertiser leader column – January 31, 2020

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Ever since it was ‘temporarily’ closed to new admissions around two years ago, there has been the suspicion that plans were afoot to close Knapdale Ward completely.

The HSCP claims to have consulted widely on the future of the ward, yet patients’ relatives, front-line nurses and medical professionals say they were never asked for their views. Indeed, the suggestion has been made that any opinions counter to the management view have been distinctly unwelcome.

Nobody is suggesting that Knapdale Ward is perfect, and common sense tells us that dementia patients are more comfortable and relaxed in their home environment. An enhanced community care model is an excellent idea – but healthcare professionals are adamant that Knapdale Ward should be retained, with improvements made in discussion with staff.

It is needed, they say, as an option within Argyll when the home environment is no longer suitable for dementia sufferers, their families and carers.

Serious questions need to be answered. What is the enhanced community model? Is there capacity in the Glasgow area for Argyll and Bute patients? How much will this (genuinely) cost?

And, of course, why throw the baby out with the bath water?