Anger as 3,000 strong petition to stop closure rejected by health bosses at drop-in event

12/06/2024
Scottish Conservative MSP for Aberdeenshire West Alexander Burnett and Gordon and Buchan candidate Harriet Cross

A PETITION signed by more than 3,000 people calling for the closure of Huntly’s minor injuries unit to be stopped has been rejected by health bosses at a drop-in session, prompting calls for an urgent public meeting to be held.

Scottish Conservative MSP for Aberdeenshire West Alexander Burnett and Gordon and Buchan candidate Harriet Cross said Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership was treating the public with “disdain” by not accepting the petition.

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Mr Burnett has now written to the organisation’s chief officer, Pamela Milliken, urging her to accept the petition and set up a public meeting for the issue to be discussed with residents.

He said Monday’s drop-in session at Stewarts Hall in Huntly was used as a “tick-box exercise” which had “no influence” on the decision-making process.

The petition, from the Friends of Jubilee Hospital, warns that the closure will put added pressure on the “already overstretched” A&E departments at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin.

In his letter to the social care partnership, Mr Burnett said: “It is extremely disappointing Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership is not accepting the petition opposing these cuts, signed by 3,002 residents, which was handed over by the Friends of Jubilee Hospital at the public drop-in session.

“At every stage of this process the social care partnership and Integrated Joint Board have treated the public with disdain by refusing to have a public meeting, failing to be honest with the public about the impact of these cuts and by trying to claim that the drop-in session was a consultation, when in reality it was just a tick-box exercise, with no influence on the final decision.

“Decisions of this magnitude should only be made after full consultation with the public and not rushed through as is happening.

“I implore you once again to do the right thing and pause the proposed overnight closure to the minor injuries unit in Huntly to allow meaningful consultation with the public and to consider the petition from the Friends of Jubilee Hospital on behalf of the people of Huntly.”

Scottish Conservative candidate for Gordon and Buchan Harriet Cross, who recently met with the Friends of Jubilee Hospital with Mr Burnett, added: “It’s appalling that the health and social care partnership has refused to even look at the petition, which has been signed by thousands of residents in Huntly and the surrounding area.

“The large number of signatures highlights the breadth of anger throughout the community at the decision to close Huntly’s MIU.

“I’m therefore extremely disappointed that the health and social care partnership has chosen to ignore the petition at a time when health provision is being drastically cut in the town.

“The decision must be reconsidered, and a public meeting should be held to allow residents to challenge the closure, which will undoubtedly put people off seeking medical help and put lives at risk.”

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