On Friday last week, staff in the Fruin and Katrine dementia wards at the Vale of Leven hospital were told by their managers that the wards would be closing and that patients would be transferred to Glasgow. I am sure that the First Minister would agree that that would be very disruptive for dementia patients. That was because a locum consultant contract was ending.
I welcome the positive intervention from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport. Can the First Minister confirm that every effort will be made to secure consultant cover so that the wards remain open?
Yes, I give that commitment. I fondly remember visiting the Fruin and Katrine wards in the Vale of Leven hospital when I was the health secretary. At that time, there was concern over the future of those wards and we worked with the health board to make sure that they were protected. They remain open to this day all these years later. Cover has now been secured to take away any short-term risk to the ability of those wards to stay open and to cater for the patients who depend on them. The Government has that long-term commitment and I know that the health board has committed to that too.