A basic profile of the long-established Blairgowrie community hospital, medical and health-related facilities either not mentioned at all or only barely by other local websites of what is now he largest town in Perthshire, Scotland. Having a good community hospital and relevant related services and facilities nearby and situated only eighteen miles from Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI) and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee are major relocation advantages for all potential newcomers to the area.

Blairgowrie and Rattray healthcare, hospital, medical and related facilities

The Community Cottage Hospital here also serves Alyth, Coupar Angus, Meigle and other Strathmore areas

By Keith A. Forbes and his wife Lois Ann Forbes at keithforbes01@btinternet.com. Both disabled, they live in Rattray, Blairgowrie, Perthshire and write, administer and webmaster this website for the Blairgowrie Disability Association (BDA). Keith is a member of the UK's The Society of Authors and a consumer activist for the elderly and the disabled. 

Blairgowrie & Rattray introduction and town profile Blairgowrie & Rattray businesses and community Blairgowrie & Rattray Disability Concerns
Blairgowrie & Rattray Hospital and medical

Classical Music, July 4, Independence Day, Part 1

Classical Music, July 4, Independence Day, Part 2

Forbes Clan of Scotland, Part 1 Forbes Clan of Scotland, Part 2 General John Forbes, founder of Pittsburgh, USA
If  Brexit occurs, what then?    

Keith and Lois are NHS Tayside Public Partners. Keith also writes the 135+ websites on Bermuda Online, including those on Bermuda's King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Bermuda's Healthcare

Blairgowrie location

 Blairgowrie's location compared to places shown.

Purpose of this website

When the authors were newcomers to Blairgowrie in 2010, they tried in vain to find out as much as they could about the Blairgowrie Community Hospital/Cottage Hospital they would need often, and other health-related services. This resulted. 

Blairgowrie Ambulance Station

A local and regional unit of the Scottish Ambulance Service. In June 2014 underwent a £325,000 expansion and upgrading revamp. Employs 14 full-time staff. Has a fleet of ambulances. Crews at the station respond to around 1100 emergency calls every year and a further 260 requests from doctors' practices in the area for urgent hospital transfers. In addition, they transport more than 7200 patients who qualify to and from their hospital outpatient appointments.

Patient Transport Service. See http://www.scottishambulance.com/WhatWeDo/booking.aspx

Blairgowrie Community Hospital

Present NHS Tayside signage (see below) shows Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital

Blairgowrie Community Hospital

Blairgowrie Cottage HospitalBlairgowrie Community Hospital

Blairgowrie Community Hospital, NHS Tayside photo and directions.

The regional community hospital for those living in this Strathmore area. It covers 424.4 square miles and has a population of about 29,000 of which about 5,500 are over 65. It includes Blairgowrie and Rattray, Altamount, Alyth and New Alyth, Ardler, Ballintuim, Bendochy, Blackwater, Bridge of Cally, Burrelton, Cargill, Carsie, Carse, Cluny, Craighall, Coupar Angus, Dunsinnan, Eassie, Glen Isla, Glenshee,  Hallyburton, Keillor, Kettins, Kilry, Kinclaven, Kinloch, Kinrossie, Kirkmichael, Lintrathen, Lornty, Meigle, Meikleour, Middleton, Newtyle,  Rosemount, Spittalfield, St. Fink, Tullyfergus, Wolfhill and Woodside. 

It serves all of Perthshire and Kinross Council's Ward 3, most of Ward 2 and part of Ward 1 shown below.

Perth and Kinross Council area

Perth and Kinross Council areas

Perth Road, Blairgowrie, Perthshire PH10 6EE. Also referred to as Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital, as it started as such. See the present basic NHS Scotland Blairgowrie Community Hospital website (with fewer details than those shown below) at http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/GoingToHospital/OurPremisesA-Z/BlairgowrieCommunityHospital/index.htm. Phone 01250 874466 (Reception). 01250 877843 (Strathmore Dementia Services Unit). 01250 877854 (GP Unit).  01250 875405 (Psychiatric Nurses). 01250 872030 (District Nurses).  01250 876668 (Health Visitors).  Free WIFI for patients from October 2, 2015. A Minor Injuries Unit (MIU), a major local community asset with a wide range of MIU local community health services. NHS 24 for out-of-hours emergency: Hotline 08454 242424. Ambulance: Scottish Ambulance Service at http://www.scottishambulance.com/. Reception is to the right after entering. Location. Half a mile south of the town centre of Blairgowrie on the main Perth to Blairgowrie A93 main road. About a 5 minute walk. Presently with no marked walkway opposite the hospital for pedestrians to cross safely over the busy A93 to access the hospital. Volunteers who are members of Friends of the Blairgowrie Community Hospital make an important contribution to the life of the hospital by tending the flowers in the wards, visiting the sick, providing a library service to patients and looking after the hospital gardens. National Health Service (NHS) Tayside: at http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/. Blairgowrie and area/region are in NHS Tayside's Perth and Kinross Community Health Partnership (CHP) - see http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/OurServicesA-Z/PerthKinrossCommunityHealthPartnership/index.htm

Patient Transport Service. See http://www.scottishambulance.com/WhatWeDo/booking.aspx. For qualified patients only, and their carer if circumstances permit. Spouses, children and relatives do not qualify, they have to make their own way to and from the hospital.

Royal Voluntary Service (Tayside). For those unable to drive themselves and without other driver's resources and have a registered long-term disability. With adequate notice they will try to provide two-way transportation for health-related appointments and certain other events via volunteers in their own appropriately insured cars. Call 01738 633975 for more information and/or to register. A moderate cost is usually involved, less expensive than a taxi

Services provided by Blairgowrie Community Hospital.  In addition, please note that Action on Hearing Loss sessions for the deaf or hard of hearing occur from 2-4 pm on 30th March, 27th April, 25th May and 29th June.

Hospital entrance 

Two free parking disabled spaces (often abused by the non-disabled) are near the entrance, with more spaces situated elsewhere on the premises. 

Blair hospital display 2

Exhibits on display near Reception at the Blairgowrie Community Hospital.

Blairgowrie Community Hospital, new floorplan

Blairgowrie Community Hospital, new floorplan 2

On 11th April 2014 construction work,  originally scheduled for December 2013, began, to enhance the facilities at the BCH to provide a modern environment. The £2.36 million project, undertaken by Morrison Construction, included a purpose-built inpatient GP unit in a single ward area with both single and twin rooms all ensuite, a new physiotherapy and occupational therapy rehabilitation area, and a new Minor Injuries and Illness Unit (MIIU) to give clinicians scope to deliver new treatments locally in the future. The NHS Tayside Finance and Resources Committee approved the redevelopment project in 2013 and the Tayside NHS Board Endowment Fund Board of Trustees also approved a significant contribution towards the project. The work took about six months and was completed by December 2014. In January 2015 patients moved into the much-improved space with the new both single and twin rooms all ensuite configuration.

Major changes:

Blairgowrie Community Hospital history and functioning volunteer units

The idea of a hospital at Blairgowrie had been initiated by Mrs Clerk-Rattray in 1882, and on whose death bequeathed £25 for 'such an institution should it ever be founded.' Several attempts were made to get subscriptions going over the following years - all failed. Then Mrs Macpherson of Newton Castle, Blairgowrie, gifted the site and that was followed by subscriptions ranging from donations of £1000 downwards. The architect, Lake Falconer of L and J Falconer, architects, Blairgowrie, gave his services free, while things like furnishing, landscaping was also donated by other residents of the town. Blairgowrie and Rattray Districts Cottage Hospital - as it was then known - was opened on 30th May 1901. The description of the hospital when it opened said it had two large wards with room for three female and three male beds, plus a couple more if needed. After it opened, there was no longer any need to continue what had earlier been a separate small cottage hospital in Rattray. From the day it opened it was welcomed and appreciated by both the Blairgowrie and Rattray and much further beyond communities. Inside the foyer is a fascinating report, collection and artifacts showing the long and distinguished history and many medical uses of this building. For many years after it was first opened it had its own medical and surgical staff before becoming a Minor Injuries Unit of NHS Tayside overseen by the Perth and Kinross Community Health Partnership (CHP).

Friends of Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital (FBCH). Scottish Charity Reg 004061. Volunteers who make a uniquely important contribution to the life of the hospital and its in-patients by tending the flowers in the wards, visiting the sick, providing a library service to patients, arranging a seasonal Carol Service and patients' party complete with entertainment at the hospital, looking after the hospital gardens and funding important equipment for inpatients. Members include Dorothy Chalmers; Susan Edwards; Jacqui Rutherford; Margaret Butchart; Adeline Casey; Bill Christie; Connie Irvine; Irene Matheson; Billy Mackay; Dr. Graeme Macneil; George Milne; Margaret Nichol; Myrtle Petrie; Elizabeth Porter and Christine Wallace. In May 2014 FBCH presented NHS Tayside with a cheque for £63,000, to help ensure enhancement of specific additional improvement for rehabilitation therapies. 

Strathmore Advisory Group (SAG). For details of meetings see http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/YourHealthBoard/Projects/PROD_210026/index.htm. On 3rd November 2010 the Dundee Courier published news of public concerns raised about about the Cottage Hospital and whether it would stay or go. On 10th May 2011, a key public meeting was held in Blairgowrie, as a direct result of which persons attending were asked if they would like to be further involved and from their interest the 21-member SAG was formed. It first met at BCH on 25th October 2011. Subsequent meetings, all at BCH, were held in 2012 and 2013. From those meetings, NHS Tayside initially planned to reconfigure and spend £750,000 in 2012 on BCH. That has since been enlarged. SAG operates in a manner complementary and supplementary to the long-established Friends of the Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital (BCH) - see above - to both ensure  both the hospital's survival and hopefully assist in new directions, with its mostly lay members (including representation from the Scottish Health Council) co-operating with NHS Tayside and CHP professionals for the healthcare betterment of the entire Blairgowrie and hospital catchment area NHS client community. SAG's specific purpose, now concluded, was not to act purely as an agent of the Perth and Kinross Community Health Partnership (CHP, which ceased to exist in 2015 and was replaced by an integrated NHS Tayside and Perth and Kinross Council entity) but to liaise with the latter and provide a forum to allow the-then CHP to stimulate public discussion about, and thereby facilitate the improvement and re-design of local and regional healthcare services. Since then, the principal change to local NHS Tayside services has been the move, planned for 2016, of mental health services originally from outwith the hospital to rooms, facilities and services physically within the hospital, vacated when substantial hospital improvements took place in 2014. These changes took preference over those suggested by SAG. SAG has about 23 members, several more than originally planned. Has a representative from the Blairgowrie and Rattray Community Council (BRCC) (representing about 8.000 people) but none from other community councils (representing about 21,000 people) from within the hospital's 29,000 population remit. From this SAG group of 23 or so members, only three attend Healthy Communities Collaborative (HCC) meetings, with two of those three being NHS Public Partners and both disabled. In February 2016 this author suggested major changes be made, to include the group becoming much more representational of all Strathmore areas if it wishes to continue its present NHS Tayside accreditation. Present chair and vice chair of SAG, appointed in October 2013, are local residents Mr. David Bailey and Mrs Lois Forbes. 

All other NHS Tayside Hospitals, in alphabetical order

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NHS_Tayside for the complete list. Those with potential or actual relevance to Blairgowrie are:

King's Cross Hospital, Clepington Road, Dundee. A former fever hospital, now the operational headquarters of NHS Tayside. 

Murray Royal Hospital, Perth, PH2 7BH. Phone 01738 621151. Mental Health. 

Ninewells, Dundee, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninewells_Hospital and http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/GoingToHospital/OurPremisesA-Z/NinewellsHospital/index.htm.18 miles from Blairgowrie, phone 01382 660111. Day Surgery Unit phone 01382 596750.  Major facility. One of the largest teaching hospitals in the world. Has a specialist stroke unit and medicine for the elderly rehabilitation ward. But those expecting to be operated on should know that even when they get written confirmation of the date of their operation there is a 70% chance they will not be operated on that day because preference is always given to medical emergencies. As merely one example, a lady from Blairgowrie was informed in advance of her operation on 9 February 2016. As her disabled husband is unable to drive, a friend kindly volunteered to take her. She was expected at 8 am, was there by then, was taken to a room, her affected limb was duly marked up for her operation and she was prepared in other medical ways but at about 9:15 am, after her husband and friend had gone she was told her operation was being postponed as all operating theatres were closed except to cancer operation patients. Similar last-minute delays have happened to other patients, at huge inconvenience. Patient Transport Service. See http://www.scottishambulance.com/WhatWeDo/booking.aspx. For qualified patients only, and their carer if/when circumstances permit. Spouses, children and relatives do not qualify, they have to make their own way to and from the hospital.

Ninewells, Dundee

Ninewells. Note that Disabled Badge Parking, now costing £2.20, is for a maximum of four hours.  

Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI), see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perth_Royal_Infirmary - and http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/patients/hospital/pri.shtml - and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Perth-Royal-Infirmary/158424270837008 -18 miles away, phone 01738 623311. Major facility, Accident and Emergency, 267 beds, in present location since 1912-14 (before that at where the Perth A. K. Bell Library now exists), extended in 1993. Has a specialist stroke unit and medicine for the elderly rehabilitation ward. Those expecting to be operated on should know that even when they get written confirmation of the date of their operation there is a 70% chance they will not be operated on that day because preference is always given to medical emergencies. Countless people have been affected that way. Patient Transport Service. See http://www.scottishambulance.com/WhatWeDo/booking.aspx. For qualified patients only, and their carer if/when circumstances permit. Spouses, children and relatives do not qualify, they have to make their own way to and from the hospital.

For PRI. Parking (free). But For older and mobility-restricted, going by car to PRI Outpatients is often a major problem, with very limited Disabled Parking spaces. PRI warns the public not to go by car due to major parking problems. Only for PRI appointments after 4 pm is there a reasonable chance for the disabled with an appropriate parking badge to get a Disabled Parking Space outside the Outpatients wing. If going to PRI  instead by bus, Blairgowrie older and/or restricted-mobility residents need to take two buses, first route 34 or 58, 58A or 59, then from Perth the No 1 bus. Best place to catch it is outside the  A. K. Bell Library on Perth's South Street. The bus drops them off 5 minutes later at the bottom of the hill leading to the PRI Outpatients wing, meaning there is a steep walk up the hill. The same applies on the return journey except that the walking distance is longer to get from where the PRI bus (#2) stops in Perth to the South Street bus stop for the Blairgowrie bus. 

For Ninewells. From Blairgowrie, if going by car, drive directly to Ninewells which has a number of parking places, none free. If entitled to Disabled Badge Parking, there is a Disabled Badge Only parking area, often full and presently costing £2.20, even for the disabled, for up to four hours. If going by bus, note there is no direct Ninewells-Blairgowrie bus service, you need first the Dundee bus and then in Dundee a Ninewells bus. If over 60 and qualified, bring and use your concessionary bus pass.

Royal Dundee Liff Hospital, Dundee DD2 5NF. Adult Psychiatry and old age psychiatry. 

Royal Victoria Hospital, Jedburgh Road. Dundee, DD2 1SP. Phone 01382 423000. Elderly assessment, continuing care, palliative care, younger disabled, brain injury rehabilitation, medicine for the elderly admin base.

Hospital Chaplains’ Contact Numbers. Ninewells, Dundee: 01382 225228. Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI): 01738 622241. 

Tayside Health Fund.  Functions include agreeing from October 2015 to pay for the new free to patients WIFI service described earlier.

Admission to Ninewells or Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI) as an inpatient

2015. October 2. All NHS Tayside hospitals, including Blairgowrie Cottage/Community Hospital, were supplied with free WIFI Internet access for patients. The service was paid for by the Tayside Health Fund (THF), at a total cost for all NHS Tayside hospitals of £35,000 for the 2015/2016 year. The funds come from the proceeds of the THF gift shop at Ninewells. NHS Tayside also contributed funds.

When you get your letter informing you of admission it will tell you the day and time to come and will also ask you to bring all your GP-approved prescriptions in their original packaging. Plus, if you are due for an operation, you may be told to stop taking aspirin or another/other medications a stipulated number of days beforehand. But what you are not told is what else to bring. When you first arrive, you may be asked to sit in a waiting room for an hour or so, while your details are processed or a bed is made ready for you, or both. When arrive in your ward a nurse will take your medications from you and lock them in a unit next to your bed. She will retain the key of the unit and administer the doses. For your own comfort and convenience bring books or magazines and your own personal toiletries including a comb, dentures if you use them, denture cream, deodorant, dressing gown, electric shaver or razor and shaving cream if a man, facial tissues (Kleenex or similar), hairbrush, hand wipes, mobile phone (now allowed in a non-emergency ward), mobile phone charger, pajamas (instead of the issued hospital gown), slippers (you will need them to go to the bathroom in the ward, especially when the floor has just been thoroughly washed and may be slippery), soap and/or shower gel, toothbrush, toothpaste and washrag. Note that none of the above are available in any hospital bathroom/shower room. If you forget or are unable to bring the items mentioned note that if you want them ask a visiting family member or relative to bring them as soon as possible after your admission. If that's not possible you can buy them from the WRVS cart that will visit your ward on a daily basis. 

It's also possible (as was the case with this writer) you may find the cotton blanket on the hospital bed not long enough, wide enough or heavy enough to give you a good night's sleep, in which case ask a friend or spouse or family member to bring a freshly laundered light but adequate-size blanket when they next come to see you.

If you have a balance problem and/or sleep not on your back but on one side, make sure, or ask a member of the staff to, you fasten the rail or rails on the side of your bed, to avoid falling off the bed.

Unless you are in a High Dependency Unit where stricter rules may apply you will find the wards are quite relaxed about your choice of pajamas or nightgowns. The particularly nice thing about that otherwise medically stressful visit was how wonderfully nice, affable, kind, friendly, courteous, concerned, cheerful and competent all the hospital staff were, from consultants to doctors, nurses, student nurses, orderlies and cleaners. They made you welcome, were happy to exchange banter with other patients in the ward, looked after you well and were a credit to NHS Tayside. The fellow-patients you meet are all such nice people. (The only negative aspect I encountered was that the operation I went in for on September 30, 2012, due to be done on October 1, 2012 and for which I withheld my aspirin for six days earlier as advised and did not get breakfast the next day as I was due to have the operation not long afterwards, did not take place because I could not then go to the High Dependency Unit as prior arranged because Emergency patients arrived unexpectedly. My planned procedure, first referred to a local GP in June 2012 and a consultant in July 2012 was postponed to later in November, then further delayed, until 18th January 2013 as two days before it, while still at home I contracted (and duly reported being afflicted by) Shingles. Due to a High Dependency Unit again not being available on 18th January, 2013, Ward 1 was used.

Be aware that while patients can bring their computer laptops or notebooks or ultrabooks they will not be able to get line Internet or WIFI to send or receive emails or use the World Wide Web. (There is an NHS computer service but it is a secure network, password-protected for authorized NHS staff only).

However, in hospital wards most inpatients will be able to bring and use their mobile phones to stay in touch with families and friends. 

Chemists/pharmacies for prescriptions

Boots. 49 Allan Street, Blairgowrie PH10 6AB. Phone 01250 872029. 

Davidsons. 21/24 Wellmeadow, Blairgowrie PH10 6AT. Phone 01250 870282. 

Davidsons. 9 Airlie Street. Alyth PH11 8AH. Phone 01828 632302. 

Davidsons. The Cross,  Coupar Angus PH13 9DA. Phone 01828 627359.

Davidsons. 31 Percy Street, Stanley PH1 4LU. Phone 01738 828866. 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

An umbrella term for people with no-cure but sometimes manageable chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both and chronic obstructive airways. See    British Lung Foundation at www.blf.org.uk/Conditions/Detail/COPD Also see under Stop Smoking. 

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

European Health Insurance CardAs qualified local residents, if you've not already signed up for and received one and want to go on holiday or business in Europe, to entitle you to free or reduced-cost health care if you get ill or have an accident in any European Union country you'll need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). In 2005 it replaced the old E111 form. You can apply by completing the online form (your card will be delivered in seven days) or by calling 0845 606 2030. Every family member needs a separate card. You can apply for an EHIC for your spouse/partner and any children up to the age of 16 (or 19 if they are in full-time education) at the same time as applying for your own. Before you apply, you need to have the name, date of birth and NHS or national insurance (NI) number of everyone you are applying for.

The EHIC lasts for 3-5 years and allows UK nationals, resident in the UK, to receive free or reduced-cost emergency healthcare when visiting European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The Department of Health website explains where the EHIC is valid. The treatment will be free or at a reduced cost, but private treatment is not usually covered. Should you need to make a claim once you return to the UK call the Overseas Healthcare Team (Newcastle), 0191 218 1999 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm). Renew your EHIC for free directly at www.nhs.uk/ehic. If you use an unofficial website you may have to pay.

If you're going to a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, it's also important to make sure you have private health insurance. This is because the EHIC will not cover all the costs of your treatment (for example, will not cover your costs if you are treated by any cruise ship or riverboat medical staff or anyone they have to call) and never covers the cost of getting you home (repatriation) if you are seriously ill. Supplementary, more inclusive EHIC coverage is available. If you are going to a non-European country, only very few countries offer any similar arrangement. 

For more information on the EHIC see the Department of Health's advice for travellers or call the EHIC Enquiries Line on 0845 605 0707. 

Healthcare Improvement Scotland

See http://www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org and http://www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org/our_work/inspecting_and_regulating_care/opah_tayside/ninewells_hospital_jan_2013.aspx. An organization the mission of which is to ensure people receive the best healthcare possible. day in, day out. One of its remits is to provide public assurance about the quality and safety of healthcare through the scrutiny of Scottish NHS hospitals and services, and independent healthcare services such as private hospitals and hospices. Since 2011 this has included specific inspections looking at the care of older people in acute settings, with a key focus on treating older people with compassion, dignity and respect; dementia and cognitive impairment; preventing and managing falls; nutritional care and hydration;  and management of pressure ulcers.

Health & Social Care Integration

First mooted in 2012, real progress began December 2014. It is the Scottish Government's country-wide programme of reform to improve services for people who use Health and Social Care Services. The Scottish Government and in this case the Perth and Kinross Council (P&K) have stated that improving care for older people is a specific goal, with a focus on reducing the time they spend in hospital. A Rapid Response Team of a Social Care Officer and a Nurse Coordinator will provide homecare and nursing advice on the same day it is requested, as an alternative to hospital care, if feasible. Health and Social Care staff with work with clusters of GP practices to identify older patients at greatest risk of being admitted to hospital, to co-ordinate their care, anticipate their needs and try to maintain their treatment in a community setting. It is expected PKAVS will have a local voluntary sector worker in each locality to identify carers for local people and offering them support. 

Lead partners are the Scottish NHS including GPs and, in the Blairgowrie and related Perthshire areas NHS Tayside and the Perth and Kinross Council (PKC). See http://www.pkc.gov.uk/integration. There is no national uniform methodology, instead it varies by local authority. Third sector and independent service providers are other partners. Integration tries to ensure that Health and Social Care provision is joined up and seamless, especially but not exclusively for those elderly and frail, with long-term conditions and disabilities. 

In Blairgowrie in early 2015, at the instigation of PKAVS Carers Services on behalf of NHS Tayside and PKC, local community groups were briefed and asked to give their collective and individual views on what they would like to see included, by March 20, 2015. At the Salutation Hotel in Perth, a Health and Social Care Integration Feedback Event was held, the purpose of which was to invite all interested persons and groups to give feedback on the outcomes of recent consultations on the Health and Social Care Draft Integration Scheme, and to inform about the progress of integration and how it was proposed to get there.

Later in 2015 in the PKC and other local authority areas, the Health and Social Care Integration scheme became a legally binding contract. After approval by the Scottish Government it was named  the Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership (PKHSCP). It formalized the merger in integrated healthcare of PKC and NHS Tayside. It replaced the NHS Community Health Partnership (CHP) which earlier administered and ran NHS Tayside hospitals and allied services. 

A Pathfinder Board was established jointly by NHS Tayside and the P&K Council as lead partners for the Perth and Strathmore areas. This board was replaced by a new local Integration Joint Board to oversee the arrangements. For details of who is involved see http://www.pkc.gov.uk/article/10231/Health-and-Social-Care-Integration-Pathfinder-Board. For latest information see http://www.pkc.gov.uk/article/13131/Integration-Joint-Board---March-23-2016

Health and Social Care Integration is neither a Scottish nor UK-wide initiative, but instead a long-delayed attempt to match in certain ways what has been for at least 25 years the leading aim, focus and service of national, regional and local governments and their national, regional and local health authorities and services authorities in Norway, Sweden and Denmark), Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. Other countries in Europe, such as Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, etc have also since adopted it, years ago. In the Nordic and other European countries, the programme is now seamless, with local authorities working with government-owned and run health authorities not on a Monday-Friday basis but on a 24 hour a day basis, in shifts to ensure equal quality of access of uniform quality irrespective of the area lived in. In the case of older people over 65 there is a moderate, fair and equitable personal or per-couple cost, based on what home-visit or other services and treatments are needed and whether they are provided at home or in care or retirement or assisted living premises owned and administered by either private corporate entities or local authorities. Another important factor in Europe is that specific carers are usually assigned to specific clients with sufficient time for a quality home visit including travel time and these carers are all adequately-paid health-care professionals accredited by their national or regional or local authorities. Another is that district nurses make frequent visits. It does not appear that any attempt was made in Scotland to study the Scandinavian or other European structures.

In distinct and dismaying contrast, in 2016 to date in Scotland:

There are other disturbing factors, namely:

Not mentioned in any Scottish Government or local authority literature is the probability that from April 1, 2016 when Health and Social Care Integration goes into full effect, because Scottish Council Taxes (but not Water and Waste Water costs which were increased by 1.5% by Scottish Government-owned Scottish Water) were once again frozen for the 2016-2017 financial year. there will be significant further cuts, likely particularly affecting seniors and disabled. In England, Council Tax rises have been announced by up to 3 percent to help pay for Health and Social Care Integration. In Scotland, partly because of frozen Council Tax budgets for the past nine years, local authorities have cut back hugely on goods and services once offered without charge to pensioners and the frail and disabled, They now have to pay for a considerable range of goods and services once free, including such items as hand rails for baths and showers.  

All the above, written by the undersigned was communicated at the end on March 2016 to Perth and Kinross Councillor Dave Doogan who heads the Integration Joint Board. He was asked to comment by email if there were any inaccuracies, which this author  would correct immediately. No such inaccuracies have yet been reported.

Online Occupational Therapy. Email AccessTeam@pkc.gov.uk. A new (from late 2015) online tool which makes ordering specialist equipment at home simple and easy for those who require independence aids. Those without online access can contact the Access Team at 0345 30 11120. In earlier times, when the Social Care budgets were much higher, all such specialist equipment was free to those who needed it. This is no longer the case.

NHS GPs and Surgeries in and near Blairgowrie and NHS 24

GPs in this area and their staff come under the overall medical supervision of NHS Tayside. 

Ardblair Medical Practice 

Anne Street, Blairgowrie, PH10 6EF. Tel 01250 872033. Fax 01250 874517. Situated adjacent to the community hospital.  Dr A. D. Shaw; Dr. J. M. Mackay; Dr. Ivor Sim; Dr. Andrew Buist; Dr. Morag Martindale; Dr. Graeme Gatherer; Dr. Jennifer Hartlett; Dr. Jill Mackay

Ardblair Medical Practice

Ardblair Medical Practice. 2012 photo by this author. With three disabled parking spaces.

Strathmore Surgery

Jessie Street, Blairgowrie PH10 6BT • Tel 01250 872552. 

Strathmore Surgery. 2012 photo by this author.

Coupar Angus Medical Centre

 Candlehouse Lane, Coupar Angus, Blairgowrie. PH13 9DP • Tel 01828 627318. 

Alyth Health Centre

New Alyth Road, Alyth, Blairgowrie PH11 8EQ • Tel 01828 632317.

Local healthy-living exercises and services

They include:

Angus Hotel Blairgowrie Leisure Club. A nice local or nearby hydrotherapy pool, of the same calibre of the wonderful disability-equipped Puffin Hydrotherapy Pool we'd used frequently in Dingwall, Ross-shire. The Live Active pools in Perth were OK but water was cold compared to the Puffin Pool. Later, we were lucky to find the wonderful Angus Hotel pool, not a hydrotherapy pool per se but with much warmer heated water than at the Live Active centres in town or Perth, also with steam room and whirlpool as they do, but with this pool much quicker and easier to get to and not nearly as crowded. Altogether an excellent facility despite the cost. 

Blairgowrie and Area Healthy Communities Collaborative. Part of NHS Tayside Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Project. Meets at 2:15 pm on pre-arranged days at 2pm, about once every two months,  at Community Connect@Rattray. A variety of health-related advice, topics and happenings.  Also organizes weekly (Monday, 2 pm) Elderly Gentle Exercise Class at the Adult Resource Centre and similar exercises for the elderly in Alyth, Coupar Angus, etc.  Welcomes new members. 

Blairgowrie and District Hillwalking Club.  Phone 01307 840520 or 01307 840535.

Blairgowrie and District Next Steps Walking Group. Nick & Sue Cole, Balmacron Farmhouse, Meigle, Perthshire PH12 8TD. Phone 01828 640763. Walks are Low level and easy from around 45 to 90 minutes. Or Mid level and moderate. No significant hill climbing, walks are intended to be mainly on paths and tracks. Or Mid to High level and strenuous. 

Blairgowrie Low Impact Exercise Group Gentle Exercise for Older People. Mondays, 2-3 pm Adult Resource Centre, Jessie Street, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, PH10 6BT. Tailored to suit all abilities, seated or standing. Cost £2.50 per person per session. All welcome. Bring a friend. Supported by NHS Tayside Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Project. Since September 2015 provided by qualified instructor Marcin Luszcz. 

Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland. Monday mornings. St. Catherine's Community Centre, St. Catherine's Church, Blairgowrie.  For those with a communications difficulty following a stroke, in hope of gently helping them to participate in a variety of activities. The group is coordinated by a member of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS) staff and is supported by a team of trained volunteers.   

Live Active Blairgowrie. Swimming, sports hall and gym. Smaller edition of the huge and impressive facilities at Live Active Perth. Activities for the elderly include Tuesday 11 am to 11:45 am Chair Exercises at Ash Grove Court Sheltered Housing. cost £2.00; Tuesday 1 pm to 1:45 pm Gentle Water Exercises at Blairgowrie Recreation Centre, cost £2.00; Wednesday from 1st October 2014 11 am to 11:45 am Balance and Strength Class at Community Connect@Rattray, free at this time; Thursday 1 pm to 1:30 pm Gentle Water Exercises at Blairgowrie Recreation Centre, £2.00; and Thursday, 2:15 pm to 3 pm, since 2nd October, Balance and Strength class at Blairgowrie Recreation Centre, £2.60.

Over 60's Exercise Class. Blairgowrie Town Hall, 11:15 am to 12 noon. Thursday. Free for first attendance, then £3.50 per person per session. Based on Dorothy Dobson techniques.

Pilates. St. Anne's Hall, Forfar Road, Coupar Angus. Tuesday 5:45 pm to 6:45 pm, Wednesday 9:30 am to 10:30 am. Thursday 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Cost £6 per session 10 persons maximum. Organized and led by Susie Black.

NHS Business Services Authority

The NHS organization that supplies the NHS with all its needs and also handles the renewal of European Health Insurance Cards, among other things.

NHS Dental Surgeries in Blairgowrie and region

Blairgowrie Dental Care, 64 High Street, Blairgowrie PH10 6DF • Tel 01250 875136. 

Coupar Angus Dental Care, 7 Union Street, Coupar Angus, Blairgowrie PH13 9AE • Tel 01828 628280.

NHS Health Scotland including Blairgowrie and region

See http://www.healthscotland.com/. Scotland's Health Improvement Agency.

NHS Tayside Community Innovation Fund

Helps community groups to develop local improvement projects that will benefit the health and well-being of the local population. Grants from £500 to £35K are available to establish new and innovative projects.

NHS Tayside Local Medical Committee

See http://www.taysidelmc.co.uk/. Represents all Tayside GPs including in Blairgowrie and region. Local GP Dr. Andrew Buist is the spokesperson. 


Tayside General Practices

NHS Tayside General Practices include the four shown below in Blairgowrie (2), Alyth and Coupar Angus

It is often assumed, wrongly, they are employed directly by NHS Tayside. In fact they are independent contractors, not employed directly by NHS Tayside but under contract to the latter. GP surgeries normally operate from 8:30 am to 6 pm or so on a 5-day week, a normal maximum of 40 hours a week or thereabouts. Telephone consultations are available daily with both GPs and practice nurses to discuss problems. Please contact the receptionist who will take details of your contact number and advise of when the doctor/nurse will ring you back. If you have a genuinely urgent medical problem that you feel needs attention on the same day, explain this to the receptionist and you will be seen. When their patients need and try to reach them out of normal working hours there is no GP on call for emergencies, patients are instead expected to either contact NHS Inform at http://www.nhsinform.co.uk or NHS 24 at http://www.nhs24.com/) or, to avoid going through that procedure if the patient is injured in a road accident or other emergency and the condition is deemed serious enough to be possibly life-threatening, on a line phone or mobile phone dial 111. Please do not abuse the urgent appointment system with non-urgent problems as these are generally best managed during normal consultation times when they can give you more time. GP surgeries also have extended surgery times one evening a week - please ask at the reception desk. They are not on-call at night or on weekends and public holidays. Thus their normal working hours comprise only 40 hours of the 168 hours in each week, or less than 25% of the total for the week. Which is why, in addition to GP surgeries, the NHS provides the NHS Inform service mentioned above for night-time, weekends and public holidays service. NHS Tayside telephone, hospital and related medical services operate 24 hours a day 365 days a year.  

Organ donations from Blairgowrie and region

Contact Organ Donations Scotland and join the NHS Organ Donor Register, or text LIFE to 61611.

Patients Bill of Rights, Blairgowrie and region, rest of Scotland

See http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/09/22091148/2. Enacted from 1st October 2012. Hospitals in Scotland are legally obliged to treat patients within 12 weeks of diagnosis under a new law effective from 30th September 2012. The legal guarantee is one of several rights included in the Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities, which ministers are required to publish under the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011. An independent advice service has also been set up to offer advice and support to NHS patients across Scotland. Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "Patients in Scotland are being treated quicker than ever - and this fast treatment will now be protected by a legal guarantee. We are continuing to meet our full 18 weeks from GP referral to treatment target, and now, as part of this journey, once patients are diagnosed and agree to the treatment it will start within 12 weeks. In 2007 over 29,000 people were stuck on 'hidden waiting lists' not getting the treatment they needed. I am proud that Scottish patients are reaping the benefits of what the NHS can achieve by protecting the founding principles of the National Health Service." However, as mentioned in January 2013 in BBC Scotland news reports, there are some substantial exclusions to the above-mentioned Patients Bill of Rights. 

Patient Transport Service

See http://www.scottishambulance.com/WhatWeDo/booking.aspx. For qualified patients only, and their carer if circumstances permit. Spouses, children and relatives do not qualify, they have to make their own way to and from the hospital.

Possible NHS Scotland insurance and publicity initiatives?

travel insuranceTravel Insurance though NHS Scotland instead of through private insurance firms?  Is this possible, instead of having going through private-sector commercial insurers as we do at present? NHS Scotland knows our medical history, wants and expects it to remain confidential, is in a position to rate us for risk insurance purposes, yet keeps this private. Private insurers don't know this, when we give them confidential information it is no longer confidential between ourselves and/or our GPs and/or our NHS Tayside hospitals and when we give them the information others get to know, plus if/when we use different insurers at different times we have to submit our medical histories all over again.  We'd avoid that by going directly through the NHS. We'll gladly do our travel insurance through NHS Scotland if this is possible, practical and ideally at a somewhat lower cost, with insurance premiums going to the NHS instead of to private-sector insurers. Will appreciate any NHS feedback.

travel money

Also, will there ever be NHS Scotland television, as there is in England - see http://www.edirecttv.co.uk/  and/or an NHS Scotland newspaper, for possibly more effective newspaper coverage than costly periodical full-page advertising in quality newspapers such as the Dundee Courier, as happened in 2012?

Radio Stations at hospitals in Scotland

Scottish hospital radio stations, individual charities all, have their own websites. The vast majority are members of the UK-wide Hospital Broadcasting Association, a body which speaks for and supports the individual stations but with no control over them. If you become an inpatient at Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI) or Ninewells, within a day or two after you are admitted to your ward you may be visited by a member of Hospital Radio Perth (HRP) (Scottish Charity number SC012048). At Ninewells it will be a member of Dundee's equivalent, Bridge FM. You will be told about the programming on offer and asked if you'd like a classical or non-classical music request on the nightly request show. Requests played can range from Country and Western to Oldies and Goldies, classical and much in between. HRP will gladly play classical requests although in general if the piece is more that 7 or 8 minutes long they will play an excerpt. They play full pieces on their dedicated classical music shows. At Bridge FM the methodology may differ. 

In the case of this website author, as an inpatient at Perth Royal Infirmary Ward 1 for the night of 1st October 2012, a charming lady from Hospital Radio Perth visited me in the ward, told me about the service not mentioned earlier in any PRI hospital admission information, showed me where the headphones were and how to use them and the volume control. She kindly took my request for a Pat Boone song I hoped would be played to honour my wife and it was duly played at request-time later that evening. I made a point of hearing it played, complete with a nice introduction mentioning my first name and ward, from Perth Hospital Radio. Here's a sample of such a request, a 1960s pop song, by Pat Boone. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30jJlIZRJ1c. Another is Casta Diva by Bellini sung by Nana Mouskouri at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p5T8U2qGF4. Or her gorgeous Qual Cor Tradisti at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BQxcaYp8Jk. Or listen to Lehar's Volga Lied at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAQNX66pe4. Classical requests no longer than 6 minutes may be played.

To make a hospital radio request for someone - friend or family - at PRI on a certain day, send your request to http://www.hrperth.co.uk/contact-us.php - or by telephone to 01738 440044,  or email hrperth@blueyonder.co.uk or write, in good time, to Perth Hospital Radio, Perth Royal Infirmary, Taymount Terrace, Perth PH1 1NX. Requests are usually played at night, sometimes at a specific time or near it, between 8 pm (2000 hours) and 10 pm (2200 hours). Or, if you are an inpatient or a spouse or friend or family member of an inpatient at Ninewells, send your request to http://www.bridgefm.org.uk via telephone to 01382 496333 or email info@bridgefm.org.uk or write, in good time, to Bridge FM Hospital Radio, THBG, Level 5, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee DD1 9SY. 

Scottish Health Council

One of its members lives in Blairgowrie. Aims and objectives are broadly similar to those of Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Stop Smoking

See  (a) www.quit.org.uk or NHS Smoke Free at http://smokefree.nhs.uk.

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Blairgowrie & Rattray Hospital and medical

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Keith A. Forbes and Lois A Forbes, at keithforbes01@btinternet.com.
© 2016. Revised: June 22, 2016