Local Labour MSP Colin Smyth has said that the decision taking today (16 July) to halt admissions to Castle Douglas Cottage Hospital shows the extent of the NHS Recruitment Crisis facing Dumfries and Galloway.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway have today (16 July) confirmed their decision to halt admissions to Castle Douglas Hospital and transfer some patients to nearby Kirkcudbright Cottage Hospital due to the unavailability of a doctor combined with a lack of any viable alternative. According to NHS Dumfries and Galloway, this was this was the only action available to them to ensure that patients at both Castle Douglas and Kirkcudbright Hospitals continue to receive high quality care from appropriate clinical staff.

Earlier this year NHS Dumfries and Galloway confirmed that temporary caps on bed numbers at both Moffat and Newton Stewart Hospitals. The cap is expected to be lifted at Moffat Hospital next week, but no end date for the cap at Newton Stewart Hospital yet confirmed.

This is now the second Hospital in the region where the local NHS has decided to close admissions after a similar decision was taken for Thornhill Hospital.

Colin Smyth recently challenged the then Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison in the Scottish Parliament over the failure of the Scottish Government to tackle the recruitment crisis facing Dumfries and Galloway but she was able to provide no solutions or additional funding.

Colin Smyth said, “Across Dumfries and Galloway the effects of the recruitment crisis facing our NHS are being felt. Although the local NHS are doing their best to recruit staff, the failure of the Scottish Government to train enough medical professionals then to impose a real terms pay cut over the past seven years has inevitably led to a situation where there are staff shortages in almost every sector from consultants to GPs and nurses. As a result of this mismanagement by the SNP Government when it comes to proper workforce planning, Castle Douglas becomes the third cottage hospital in the region to have to cut its number of beds in recent weeks.

Rather than burry their heads in the sand, it’s time this SNP Government properly resourced our NHS and fixed the recruitment crisis which is having such a profound impact. The halting of admissions at Castle Douglas Hospital will see patients having to be moved because the NHS cannot guarantee they would receive the high quality care they need in Castle Douglas and this is simply isn’t good enough.”

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