CONTROVERSIAL plans to change the use of the Heartbeat Centre at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness have been scrapped, NHS Highland has announced.
The centre, which remains operational for cardiac rehabilitation, was being considered to make way for the York Day Hospital older people’s rehabilitation service.
NHS Highland had stressed this would only have happened once alternative spaces could be found for the services being displaced, but many users of the centre voiced outrage that a facility paid for with public donations might be lost.
The health board has now confirmed that it has not been able to find suitable accommodation for all of the cardiac services which would have been displaced, sparking its u-turn.
It said that it will now work to see how the space available in the Heartbeat Centre can best be used to allow existing and future cardiac services “to function more effectively for the benefit of patients and efficiently for staff”.
Katherine Sutton, deputy director of operations for NHS Highland said: “I can appreciate that this has been an uncertain time for supporters of the Heartbeat Centre in particular, but I hope that with this decision to now keep the centre open for the cardiology service, combined with a more enhanced rehabilitation service in the community that this solution is one that suits all.
“We will continue to work with cardiology staff, Bravehearts and other supporters and service users in ensuring that this clinical space in this prime acute hospital location is used to its full potential.”
NHS Highland said it hoped the York Day Hospital could still relocate to somewhere on the Raigmore Hospital site and it is continuing to seek “suitable accommodation to house the service”.