Patients may need to be moved away from a crumbling north-east hospital due to its condition, according to a new report.
A steering group formed by Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) has said that “redirection of patient flow to other community hospitals” may be required, due to the condition of Ugie Hospital in Peterhead.
The group, which was set up last year to assess options for the hospital, has submitted a report to the Integration Joint Board, due to be discussed this week.
The steering group recommends that, if necessary, “service provision may be repositioned as required to ensure patients and staff benefit from an improved environment without unnecessary delay”.
The report says: “The physical condition of parts of the Ugie site require significant capital investment if they are to remain suitable for service delivery into the future.”
According to the report, some areas of the site have been deemed unusable due to their condition, and that the main building “is of particular and immediate concern”.
The group considered the likely implications of the move, saying the community in Peterhead would likely feel the loss of the hospital.
The main hospitals named that could pick up the patients from Ugie would be Peterhead Community Hospital and Fraserburgh Hospital.
As part of the plan staff would be redeployed, although it is not clear where to.
The report mentions the risk of some staff leaving employment rather than moving jobs.
The hospital, located in the Buchanhaven area of Peterhead, houses 14 beds, 12 of which are reserved for people transferring from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI).
Ugie mainly looks after elderly patients, offering slow stream rehabilitation designed to help those with a neurological condition and psychogeriatric care, as well as a day hospital available to outpatients.
The hospital has been reduced to one ward, following the closure of the Buchanhaven ward in 2011.
Alongside the redirection of patients, the steering group considered several other options.
One option included the creation of a business case for capital investment, which would be put before NHS Grampian.
According to the appraisal of the options, if the cash is granted, the hospital would have to face relocation for a time to allow work to the grounds to be carried out.
The local community has rallied around the embattled hospital, with residents protesting what they see as the closure of the site, and a petition garnering 1,806 signatures.
The Integration Joint Board will discuss the report on Wednesday.