The GP inpatient ward at Pitlochry Community Hospital will be temporarily closed from the 3rd of January, 2022, The Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership has announced.
This is due to long-standing staffing and recruitment difficulties in rural areas, particularly within Highland Perthshire. The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the availability of staff across the whole health and social care system.
Anyone in the local area who requires an inpatient stay in a community facility from January 3, 2022 will be admitted into another community hospital or care setting in Perth & Kinross.
This decision only affects the nine inpatient beds at the GP Unit. All other services at Pitlochry Community Hospital will remain open, including outpatient services, community care and treatment services and the integrated staffing hub, which also supports partners such as the Scottish Ambulance Service.
Gordon Paterson, Chief Officer for Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership said, “We need to make sure we have the clinical staff available to be able to deliver safe patient care in any of our care settings and, unfortunately, we have reached a point where we are not able to staff this one ward in Pitlochry at this time.
“As people can appreciate, clinical teams are stretched across all services currently and there is simply not the workforce available to us. We are extremely disappointed that we have had to take this step to temporarily close the nine beds, but caring for our patients safely will always be our priority.
“It is important, however, that local people know that if they need to have an inpatient stay in a community setting, they will be admitted to another appropriate facility for their care in Perth & Kinross.”
Perthshire North MP, John Swinney, commented on the announcement, saying, “I am concerned by the temporary closure of the Inpatient Ward that has now had to take place at Pitlochry Community Hospital. The long-standing staffing challenges have been difficult to manage but staff have made an extraordinary contribution to try to sustain services throughout this period.
“The added pressure created by COVID has made the situation ever more difficult. I understand the reasons why this is necessary and I will discuss with the Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership steps to restore services to what we all expect.
“It is important to stress that despite this change all other services remain available at Pitlochry Community Hospital.”