Options being considered for future of Garrabost Care Unit

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Reassurances over the continued housing of current residents in Garrabost Care Unit were given at a public meeting on the future of the Lewis facility this week, but the meeting also heard that the service remains under review.

Dr Ron Culley, Chief Officer of the Western Isles Integrated Joint Board (IJB) for health and social care addressed the meeting, and Point councillor, Norrie MacDonald, confirmed later that a reassurance had been given that the future of the current residents was secure: ‘as long as they can be adequately and safely accommodated within the unit’.

The Point Care Unit had recently been closed to new admissions raising concerns in the local community over its potential closure.

Cllr MacDonald said: “Dr Ron Culley explained to all present the rationale behind the decision to impose a moratorium on admissions at the Care Unit at Garrabost, citing, primarily, the report of the Care Standards Commission on the (in)ability of the unit to deliver the current, ‘best accepted practice’ models of care, as well as the issues (which are affecting the entire service) with staffing.

“He gave the audience chapter-and-verse on where the Western Isles are with the entire gamut of health provisions, from A&E to Mental HealthServices; explaining the difficult choices faced when dealing with an ageing demographic and attempting to deliver a modern, bespoke, service which provides accepted, modern services across the entire estate.”

Chair of Point Community Council, Matt Bruce, welcomed the meeting, and said: “Most care units are now closed, but there was strong support shown last night for consideration of keeping Garrabost open, and maybe its use for other care needs – respite care being one potential.”

In a statement issued after the meeting, Dr Ron Culley, said: “The Integration Joint Board is currently progressing a fundamental redesign of its residential care services for older people in Lewis. This includes working with the Comhairle and Hebrides Housing Partnership (HHP) to deliver a multi-functional Care campus at Goathill in Stornoway, as well as scoping options for additional care capacity in rural Lewis.

“Within this context, there has been a recent focus on the future of the three care units in Point, Carloway and Uig. Over the last few months, the Integration Joint Board has experienced a drop-off in demand for these services and as such will consider a range of options about their future use.”