A SECOND THREAT for Moray residents who benefit from Hydrotherapy treatment is being posed by a reduction in funding to the Nairn Hydrotherapy Pool.
Following a lead set by Moray Council earlier this year when funding support was withdrawn for the privately run Forres Hydrotherapy Pool, NHS Highland took the decision to withdraw their funding for the Nairn facility, which is also privately operated.
Now the Labour shadow minister for Sport and Health Inequalities, Rhoda Grant, is calling on the health authority to reverse their decision.
The Nairn facility costs around £45,000 annually and is visited by 500 patients each month from throughout the Highlands and Moray. The majority of the funding for the facility has been provided by NHS Highland – but they are to withdraw funding for patient referrals.
The contract for GP referrals expired on March 31 – now the financial future of the facility faces an uncertain future at a time when the Forres facility also struggles to find a new funding model in the wake of Moray Council’s support being withdrawn.
“The benefits of hydrotherapy are well documented,” Ms Grant said, adding: ”It helps joint movement, muscle relaxation and helps to relieve pain and pressure for people suffering from a number of conditions such as MS, arthritis, muscular dystrophy, autism and cerebral palsy – as well as helping victims of strokes or accidents and aiding pre and post-surgery patients.
“Hydrotherapy can also help people suffering with mental health problems to exercise and improve their quality of life.
“I appreciate the impossible position that NHS boards throughout Scotland are in in having to cut services due to underfunding – but I will be contacting NHS Highland to ask them to revisit this decision as the benefits of hydrotherapy are huge for many people.
“I am also concerned that there appears to have been a lack of consultation with the community and facility users and I will be asking NHS Highland to engage with users and their GPs before this service is cut.”
Earlier this year Ms Grant accused Moray councillors of not been fully aware of the facts when they voted not to extend their support for the Forres facility.
That claim was rejected by Councillor Anne Skene, who insisted that the children and young people’s services committee which she chairs were in “full possession of the facts” when they took their decision.