IT was built for and was well used by the most vulnerable sector of our society – and there has been a public outcry at its ongoing closure and potential loss – yet the discussions and vote on the future of Stonehaven’s Invercarron Resource Centre for Older People are to be held behind closed doors.
In 2017, as part of the commitment to reduce GP workload, the Scottish Government and Scottish General Practitioners Committee agreed vaccinations would move away from GP delivery to NHS Board delivery through dedicated teams. Here, this is to be undertaken by Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, which is jointly accountable to Aberdeenshire Council and the NHS Grampian Board.
At this week’s meeting of Stonehaven and District Council, SDCC, Cllr Wendy Agnew updated members on AHSCP’s intention to repurpose the Invercarron Resource Centre into the town’s vaccination clinic.
Councillor is ‘absolutely furious’
Mrs Agnew, who chairs the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee, said she had been asked to agree to AHSC’s plans to alter the resource centre building – but she refused.
”So now the Invercarron Resource Centre has to go to the Area Committee,” she said.
”’But it is a pink paper, so it has to be heard in private.
”I am absolutely furious.”
The ‘pink paper’ Mrs Agnew referred to is the final item on the agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee.
It states: ”(EXEMPT) 11 – Supplementary Procurement Plan for The Health and Social Care Partnership – Procurement Approval”
What is being procured? The work needed to turn the resource centre into a vaccination clinic. What does exempt mean? The public (and press) are excluded.
Impact on elderly stuck at home
Jim Stephen then spoke on behalf of Stonehaven resident Vera Coull, who wanted to know what was being done for all the old people who were stuck at home. Mrs Coull feared many were very depressed after two years’ lack of stimulation since the closure of the Invercarron due to Covid.
And Mr Stephen congratulated Mrs Agnew on her efforts to save the Resource Centre. He asked all the elected members to heed Mrs Coull’s plea.
”We need people like Vera to keep writing in,” he said.
Need for exempt item being challenged
Ian Hunter said he was very shocked to hear what Mrs Agnew was telling the Community Council.
”The idea that this decision is going to be taken in private!” he said.
”Here we are with the chair of the Area Committee saying she is very upset by this. Well so she should be.”
SDCC chairman Bill Watson said it was an obligation of a local authority to conduct as much of its business as possible in public. And, if there were sums of money pertaining to contracts that should be kept confidential, this could be accommodated.
”The meat of the report could be held in public,” he said. ”That would be very normal.”
It was agreed that SDCC would write to the Aberdeenshire Council area manager, to express their concern at the Invercarron Resource Centre item being heard in private.
Previously in The Bellman