Patient hits out at hospital ward axe

Monklands Hospital's dermatology ward is to close.
Monklands Hospital's dermatology ward is to close.

A Viewpark woman who needs ongoing treatment for a serious skin condition is angry at the closure of a specialist hospital ward.

Psoriasis sufferer Alexis McGarry says patients will be “made to feel like lepers” if they are treated in a general ward at Monklands Hospital.

NHS Lanarkshire says it is “redesigning” the dermatology service, but Mrs McGarry (61), of Hawthorn Terrace, said: “I fear if they close the ward they will lose the expertise of the specialist trained nurses we rely on so much.”

Husband Danny added: “Why is Monklands closing a ward that is so busy that patients are put on a waiting list for weeks at a time before they are admitted for emergency treatment?

“When Alexis is waiting for treatment her body is 80 per cent covered in psoriasis and is in constant pain. Like so many others, when she has a flare up home treatment doesn’t work.

“She needs treatment which can be about four weeks at a time or longer, and can be two or three times a year.

“This is a very stressful and demoralising condition that hundreds of people within the catchment area of Monklands Hospital suffer.

“The physical and psychological benefits they receive are possible only through the dedicated specialist nursing staff within the dermatology ward, which has now been cut from a full size ward to 11 beds. Now they intend to close this very small, but essential, ward that is used and needed by some of the most vulnerable people in Lanarkshire.”

Judith Park, NHS Lanarkshire director of access, confirmed the ward will close in early summer. Patients will be treated in a general ward, probably with fewer beds.

She added:“As a result of changes in the way we deliver care and new treatments, the proportion of dermatology patients who need to be admitted to hospital is very low. We have also seen a year-on-year increase in demand for outpatient consultations.

“To reflect this, clinical and managerial staff are working together to redesign our dermatology service.”