Glasgow & West Scotland

Mental health ward closed by fire

Vale of Leven
Image caption The future of the Christie Ward is in doubt

A closure-threatened mental health ward has been evacuated after a fire at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC ) said the blaze, which it described as "a serious incident", broke out in the Christie Ward on Sunday night.

Staff removed 13 patients, who are now waiting to be moved to Gartnavel Royal in Glasgow.

NHS GGC is assessing the extent of the damage to the Christie Ward. It is unclear when, or if, it will re-open.

The future of the ward was placed in doubt when the health board said its future would be looked at as part of a wider service review.

A campaign to keep it open has been launched by some local people in West Dunbartonshire who say it is vital to retain the area's only psychiatric in-patient facility.

'Unfortunate incident'

A spokeswoman for NHS GGC could not confirm when, or if, the ward would re-open as assessments were still being carried out into the extent of the damage.

The fire service arrived on scene shortly after the alarm was raised and extinguished the blaze.

Robert Calderwood, chief executive of NHS GGC, said: "This was a serious incident and the potential consequences were avoided due to the rapid actions of the local staff.

"We have robust contingency plans in place should an unfortunate incident like this occur and the staff remained calm and organised while putting those plans into action.

"This meant patients were moved away from the area of the fire quickly and safely and our thanks go to the staff for their tremendous efforts."

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