New stop smoking drop-in at Royal Victoria Hospital

NHS Tayside’s smoking cessation team has launched a new drop-in service on Thursday evenings at Royal Victoria Hospital to help people kick the habit. 
 
The sessions which run between 6pm and 7pm, offer people who want to stop smoking the opportunity to speak to a friendly, trained adviser who will discuss treatment options and give support and advice to aid a successful quit attempt. The first session will last about 15 minutes with further weekly sessions lasting around 10 minutes.
 
To find out more about the new drop-in or other support available contact NHS Tayside Smoke Free Services on 0845 600 9996 or visit Facebook

Kelso Steps – a great result

Last December, I updated residents that the City Council had agreed to the request I had made on behalf of local residents and of visitors to Royal Victoria Hospital that the handrail at the Kelso Steps be extended up the brae north of the steps.  
 
The work has now been carried out (see finished result – right) and this will greatly help elderly people negotiate the brae, particularly in icy conditions in winter.

Kelso Steps – an update

Further to my article earlier today, I am pleased to have been given the following update from a City Council engineer at lunchtime to my request for an extended handrail to aid pedestrian safety:
 
“I refer to our site meeting at Kelso Street held yesterday on 10 December to discuss the request from the local residents for extending the section of handrail to the bottom of Kelso Street.
The gradient is in the order of 10% which is less than the required criteria of 12% for a handrail justification. However due to the location and general age of the users of this footway link there is some justification to extend the handrail. The handrail would require to be extended by 22m to the steps at the bottom of Kelso Street.
For this particular occasion I will arrange for a works order to be issued for this additional section of handrail.”
 
I am delighted at this outcome and grateful to the City Development Department for its sensible decision and to the residents who raised the issue with me in recent months.

Kelso Steps – site visit

Back in July, I reported that, although the City Council had agreed to my request made on behalf of residents to extent the handrail at the Kelso Steps (see right), the finished extension to the handrail was too short, leaving a long stretch of pathway on a gradient that is without a rail.
 
The steps and pathway to the north are used by many elderly residents and visitors to Royal Victoria Hospital and is treacherous in the wintry, icy weather.
 
Yesterday, along with seven local residents, I met on-site with two engineers from the City Council to discuss the situation.   We are now hoping there will be agreement to provide a further extension to the handrail provided, for pedestrian safety.

Ward 6 Royal Victoria Hospital – an update

I had a very constructive meeting today with Gerry Marr, Chief Operating Officer at NHS Tayside and Arlene Wood, Clinical Service Manager.

I have received the following assurances :

* Any proposed changes will not be based on financial matters but on improving patient care.

 
* The rationale is to ensure that those elderly people who require rapid acute assessment do not have numerous trips by ambulance from Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) and Ninewells.

 
* Patients who require rehabilitation will still receive this at RVH – at wards 4, 5, 7, and 8.

 
* Gerry Marr is willing to meet constituents and community groups to discuss any concerns.

Press update …

* This morning’s Courier and Press and Journal covered my concerns over the future of Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital – see http://tinyurl.com/ward6rvh.

* This evening’s Evening Telegraph notes my welcome for nearly £60 000 of funding for a new community and arts centre at Dundee Rail Station, but I also point out the need for substantial investment to improve the station, particularly as it is adjacent to the site of the proposed V&A in Dundee.


* Tomorrow’s press will report on Dundee Councillors’ Salaries and Expenses for 2009/10. Dundee’s two Liberal Democrat councillors – Helen Dick and myself – have the lowest salary/expenses of all councillors across the city in 2009/10. Along with two of the three Conservative councillors, we did not accept the last pay increase, given the financial challenges facing the City Council. Neither Helen or I have claimed any expenses, throughout our time on Dundee City Council.

Talks with NHS Tayside over the future of Ward 6, Royal Victoria Hospital

Last week, I wrote to NHS Tayside again to highlight my concerns – and those of many constituents – over the future of elderly persons’ services at Ward 6, Royal Victoria Hospital.

I am pleased to say that NHS Tayside has given me an invitation to meet with Gerry Marr, Chief Operating Officer, NHS Tayside, on Tuesday to discuss the issues and the concerns I have raised.

It is clear from medical professionals’ concerns that the proposals in relation to Ward 6 have thrown up very real issues and I therefore welcome the opportunity to meet with NHS Tayside.

It is particularly important that NHS Tayside hears Dundee constituents’ concerns give that Shona Robison, Public Health Minister, has unfortunately washed her hands of the issue.

I felt it was important that the Public Health Minister took action rather than simply listening to the views of NHS Tayside and apparently not hearing the views of patients and senior clinicians.    I have been inundated with concerns from constituents about this matter and its all the more disappointing that Shona Robison has chosen not to listen to the concerns.

I do, however, hope for constructive talks on Tuesday with NHS Tayside, when I can highlight the issues raised by many constituents across the West End.

Royal Victoria Hospital – update on concerns about older people services

Following the numerous further concerns about the review of older people services at NHS Tayside, the threatened closure of Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital and the failure of the Public Health Minister to intervene, I have now written to Professor Tony Wells, Chief Executive of NHS Tayside, in the following terms:

“Further to your letter of 11th May to me, I have continued to receive numerous concerns from constituents about the proposals relative to Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital and these concerns have clearly been recognised by the senior clinicians who I understand have written to you to also voice their concerns.

I would be grateful if you would now consider reconsideration of the proposals that will give reassurance to my constituents who are most concerned about the effect on the quality of care for elderly people. “

Thursday update

In both tonight’s Evening Telegraph and on STV News at 6pm, I made clear my concerns at the failure of Public Health Minister Shona Robison MSP to intervene regarding the future of Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital. It is important that Shona Robison now promptly intervenes given the extent of concerns about NHS Tayside’s proposals.

Tonight, after a busy surgery at Blackness Primary School, I attended the West End Local Community Planning Partnership meeting that was kindly hosted (at short notice) by Tayside Police at the Lochee Police Station. There was a very useful update from Social Work on protecting vulnerable adults and children and on social work caseloads in the West End post code areas.

Lastly for today – following a letter in Monday’s Tele about an apparent mis-spelling in the quote from William McGonagall’s poem about the Tay Bridge rail disaster that is carved along the footway in Riverside Drive, the City Council advises me :

“In response to the letter about the word ‘beatiful’ in McGonagall’s poem at Riverside, we would like to point out that the quote uses the poet’s own unique spelling.

In the spirit of historical accuracy, and in a nod to his idiosyncrasies, it was decided his version of the word would be retained.”

Future of Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital

As reported in today’s Courier and in my interview today on Radio Tay, I have called on the Minister for Public Health and Sport, Shona Robison MSP, to intervene to protect services for elderly patients at Ward 6 in Dundee’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

Following senior doctors protesting at the possible closure of Ward 6, it is vital that the Minister intervenes to protect these important services for elderly patients in Dundee.

Following a flurry of concerns about the situation from constituents, earlier this month, I wrote to Professor Tony Wells, Chief Executive of NHS Tayside to voice concerns. His response is pasted below.

During the recent general election, Ms Robison’s colleagues in the SNP had made much of a “community charter” they had launched that First Minister Alex Salmond said was a ‘contract with the community’. This document committed SNP parliamentarians to campaign against cuts to our local services and in this case actions speak louder than words and I hope Shona Robison will stand up for Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital.

It is clear from the medical professionals’ concerns that the proposals in relation to Ward 6 that there are very real issues here and it is important that the Public Health Minister takes action here. I have been inundated with concerns from constituents about this matter and I hope NHS Tayside listens carefully to concerns raised by senior doctors and by the wider community.

LETTER RECEIVED FROM THE NHS TAYSIDE CHIEF EXECUTIVE :

Dear Councillor Macpherson

FUTURE OF WARD 6, ROYAL VICTORIA HOSPITAL
Thank you for your email received yesterday (10 May 2010).

Due to the physical environment of Ward 6, the proposed changes mean that there will be a planned, phased closure of this ward over the next five months. However, over the same period, we will be increasing the number of acute medicine for the elderly beds at Ninewells.

NHS Tayside is embarking on an ambitious programme of modernisation of older people services across Tayside as part of our Older People’s Strategy. These plans look at how we can ensure that older people are assessed more quickly and are cared for with all the support they need in the most appropriate environment for their individual needs.

This includes looking at reducing unnecessary admissions and also reducing prolonged lengths of stay for older people in a hospital bed.

Part of the modernisation programme includes a review of the services provided at both Royal Victoria Hospital and Ninewells to ensure that older people requiring admission to hospital are placed in the correct setting and that we have a range of services to support alternatives to admission where this is appropriate.

We believe these improvements will enhance the pathway of care for older people in Tayside and improve care within Medicine for the Elderly services.

Yours sincerely
 

Professor Tony Wells

 

Future of Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital

Many residents have expressed concern to me about the future of Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital and, in particular, care for older people at the hospital. I recently wrote to Professor Tony Wells, Chief Executive of NHS Tayside, to express my concerns and seek assurances. I have today received the following response :

“Due to the physical environment of Ward 6, the proposed changes mean that there will be a planned, phased closure of this ward over the next five months. However, over the same period, we will be increasing the number of acute medicine or the elderly beds at Ninewells.

NHS Tayside is embarking on an ambitious programme of modernisation of older people services across Tayside as part of our Older People’s Strategy. These plans look at how we can ensure that older people are assessed more quickly and are cared for with all the support they need in the most appropriate environment for their individual needs.

This includes looking at reducing unnecessary admissions and also reducing prolonged lengths of stay for older people in a hospital bed.

Part of the modernisation programme includes a review of the services provided at both Royal Victoria Hospital and Ninewells to ensure that older people requiring admission to hospital are placed in the correct setting and that we have a range of services to support alternatives to admission where this is appropriate.

We believe these improvements will enhance the pathway of care for older people in Tayside and improve care within Medicine for the Elderly Services.”

I would welcome feedback from residents and will continue dialogue with NHS Tayside regarding all concerns and issues raised by residents.