PATIENTS say cuts to a Glasgow hospital which was built entirely with charitable donations are tarnishing the legacy of the people who funded it.
Glasgow’s Centre for Integrative Care (CIC) opened at the Gartnavel site in 1999 with funds gathered since the 1930s including patient endowments, held by the health board.
Patients claim the hospital, which offers a range of complementary care services, is being deliberately wound down and fear that the entire service will eventually close.
Last year, the board voted to close the seven-bed inpatient unit at the CIC, which was formally known as Glasgow’s Homeopathic Hospital, and the ward is due to shut on Friday.
The Scottish Government has said previously that a new National Chronic Pain service could be housed in the centre, which already treats patients with long-term conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis and ME.
However, campaigners say there are unanswered questions about how the funds raised to build the hospital were used by the board.
The Evening Times was shown a document dated June 23 1999, which details a lease agreement between The West Glasgow Hospitals University National Health Service Trust and New Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital Ltd.
The lease states that the NHS Trust will be paid £205,000 every year by the homeopathic hospital until January 2018. The NHS say the least agreement ended in 2004 and the limited company no longer exists.
However patients have questioned why rent was paid on a hospital that was built with charitable funding and argue that the building does not actually belong to the health board.
Catherine Hughes, a long-term patient, said: “This hospital was supposed to be a lasting legacy to those who donated funds to its construction.
“It is scandalous that people’s wishes can just be totally disregarded in this way."
David Reilly, former director of the CIC has suggested the building should be placed into third sector ownership.
He said: “I understand we got a clause in the deeds about not allowing other uses unless it was compatible with the ethos of the centre - integrative care - and also there had to be on-going homeopathy.
“To house an external service, rather than empower the centre itself in its chronic pain services would seem to breach the spirit and letter of this understanding.
Perhaps a consortium of the linked third sector organisations could purchase it for a pound from the HB, rent space back for NHS services, and house charitable based services using the endowment for on-going maintenance.”
A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: “There has been no dedicated homoeopathic hospital for several years.
“What was the homoeopathic hospital is now the Centre for Integrative Care which provides a more complex and multidisciplinary approach to care
“The building was originally built from an endowment fund that had been in place for years to support homoeopathic medicine.
“There remains a balance in that endowment fund which will continue to support homoeopathic medicine but is not wholly to fund a designated hospital.”