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31 August 2001

Alarm at Threat to Rural Hospitals in Grampian

"Grampian University Health Trust's Financial Problems Must Not Be Allowed To Reduce Clinic Provision in Community Hospitals" says MSP Stevenson

Following a meeting with Grampian Health today [Friday] it emerged that the current review of Health Board spending presents a very real threat of cut-backs in rural areas. It appears that the number of consultants' clinics in community hospitals throughout Grampian will be reduced. Speaking after the meeting, Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson said,

"I went to this meeting with a number of questions about Chalmers Hospital services in Banff. In the event the answers indicated that the Health Board 'thought it likely' that clinics in community hospitals would have to be reduced.

"These clinics are a very important part of the delivery of acute services through local hospitals throughout Grampian. By the Health Board's own admission they enable a superior service to be provided to our rural communities.

"This threat arises because of overspending within the University Trust in Aberdeen and from lack of funding from the New Labour/Lib coalition in Edinburgh. However the impact may be most acutely felt within rural communities. If the current clinics enable delivery of a superior service then withdrawal will, by definition, provide a poorer quality of healthcare to people outside the city."

Turning to funding of health-care in Grampian Health's area generally, Stevenson commented,

"New Labour's recently announced funding for our area has resulted in 10% of Scotland's population receiving only 9% of the funding. If, as appears likely, rural areas are hit once again it is further proof that Labour neither understand or care about rural communities."

Stewart Stevenson
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