The replacement of the Migdale Hospital in Bonar Bridge is a good example of a rural community hospital and sets a helpful precedent for community facilities in remote locations.
The product of 15 years work, the project involved considerable consultation with community groups, local councillors, staff, patients, and patient representatives before being constructed and completed in June 2011. The new facility replaces an older hospital building, originally designed as a Victorian ‘Poorhouse’ to support and provide housing for the dependent or needy. A decision was made to sell the original hospital which had become unfit for purpose. This was in part due to restrictions caused by the narrow corridors, 4 and 5 bed wards, inadequate sanitary facilities and split-level accommodation, all of which affected the use by long-stay elderly patients. Retention would require a total refurbishment which was deemed unviable. It was considered that a new hospital could more easily provide better integrated care and single-bed rooms, in line with Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorate (SGHSCD) policy.
The new Migdale hospital is a 22-bed community health unit serving the Sutherland area of NHS Highland, covering Inverness to Wick. The hospital has two wards: an Older Adult Mental Health Assessment Unit (Strathy) and a GP Acute Unit (Kyelsku). A number of outpatient services are also provided including Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Audiology, Rehabilitation Classes, and Memory Clinics.