Fight to save Beechwood House from closure
Members of staff, local Christians and members of the public and Dave Thompson MSP are fighting to preserve the facilities at Beechwood house in the face of lack of support from public agencies.
Self-interest in our publicly-funded agencies behind Beechwood closure?
THE threatened imminent closure of the Beechwood House and its facilities for dealing with those who have problems with alcohol misuse is being vigorously opposed by staff, members of the public and Member of the Scottish Parliament Dave Thompson is currently making strenuous efforts to reverse the pending closure.
NHS, Police and Drug Partnership
The facilities at Beechwood cater for both those who are found in a public place suffering from excessive drinking; and given immediate and longer term help if the latter is needed.
If Beechwood closes either the A&E unit in Raigmore or the police of Northern Constabulary will be required to cater for and cope with those who are found drunk and incapable. Such responses will inevitably have profound cost implications in the longer term, and neither the police nor the medical staff are best placed to deal with those who are lifted from the streets. And those who have merely over-indulged on a night out could very well wake up in police cells, be charged, appear in court and come away with a criminal record.
Meanwhile the Highland Alcohol and Drug Partnership (HADP) which has recently had an increase in its budget from £1.5M to £2.25M per year has so far declined to step in with financial assistance which could save the Beechwood facility from closure. And the MSP has found it very difficult to obtain a meeting with the HAD Partnership.
The Highland Council and the HADP have refused to provide any funding for a reduced facility and Mr. Thompson stated: "There seems to be a strong desire just to close [the unit]." Meanwhile the Aberdeen health authorities have renewed funding for a similar unit in that city. Regarding the Highland Council's plans to consult the public on ways of saving the MSP was of the opinion that there is strong public support for retaining the Beechwood facility.
Public agencies protecting their budgets at the expense of longer-term public good?
Christians Together caught up with Dave Thompson MSP in his busy schedule to record a short telephone interview with him. Listening to him speak it is difficult to avoid the impression that individual agencies are selfishly protecting their respective budgets to the point where those publicly-funded bodies are putting short-term savings before longer term efficiencies and cost savings.
Have a listen....
Mr. Thompson who has had very little support from politicians in other parties who represent the area also outlined the difficulty whereby the devolving of decision-making powers to public agencies makes it difficult to bring external pressuress to bear on them in terms of overall cost savings and efficiency.
Prayer meetings have been held recently for the situation surrounding Beechwood and the next meeting is planned for Saturday, 13 March, 2010 at 3.00pm in the East Church, Academy Street, Inverness. For further information contact: Derek Morrison Mob. 0788.402.8925 or E-mail Derek.
At the time of the interiew Mr. Thompson had raised the question of the best use of public funds with the Audit Commission and is awaiting a response.