Guest house

Red Cross guesthouse in Aberdeen facing closure

THE Red Cross guesthouse in Aberdeen used by Northern Island NHS patients and their families could close in late October due to financial pressure.

Accommodation at Claremont Place, with 18 double and family rooms, has been used for years by residents of the Northern Islands.

But the Red Cross confirmed this week that after “careful consideration” it had decided to continue closing the guesthouse, located 2.5 km from the Royal Infirmary in Aberdeen.

The charity admitted the guesthouse had been underutilized for years, although some locals claimed it was too expensive for families – with some budget hotels apparently being a cheaper option.

The Red Cross has confirmed that it will consult with volunteers and staff in the coming weeks, although it has already stopped taking reservations from November.

A British Red Cross spokesperson said: “After careful consideration we have made the decision to close the Red Cross guesthouse in Claremont Place, Aberdeen.

“The guesthouse has been in operation for over thirty years and provides space for patients and their families when they attend Aberdeen hospitals. However, a long period of under-occupation means that it is financially impossible for us to continue with this service.

“Rooms cost £ 50 per night and the occupancy rate over the past few years has fallen – this year to just 20%. The competitive prices of hotels and other accommodation providers in Aberdeen have undoubtedly contributed to this, but it also gives reassurance that there are other options available for those in need.

“Reservations are not taken beyond the end of October, which is the scheduled closing date subject to the outcome of our consultation with the staff concerned.”

NHS Shetland finance director Colin Marsland said the board of health “will consider any impact on patient travel” once the Red Cross consultation is over.

“We have been informed that the British Red Cross is currently undertaking a consultation with its staff regarding the future of its guest house in Aberdeen,” he said.

“This process, we were told, runs until mid-October. Once the British Red Cross completes its formal process and releases the final outcome regarding the future of its guesthouse in Aberdeen, the board will consider any impact on patient travel.

Beatrice Wishart MSP. Photo: Hans J Marter / Shetland News

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart said it was “very worrying news” for staff and families who use the “much needed service, often at very difficult times”.

“I understand that a final decision has not yet been made and I will examine the situation to offer all possible support,” she added.

Anne Anderson of Whalsay said the Red Cross home has been “nothing less than a boon to me and my family over the years.”

“In very stressful times, they offer accommodation at very short notice, at inconvenient hours, with a competent and supportive back-up system from staff and customers,” she said.

“Not only do they welcome you, but they don’t kick you out.

“I sincerely hope that a rollback can be done until someone has time to investigate the ad, ask why the slowdown, expand access to the facility if necessary . “

The Red Cross claim that the facility has been underutilized has been countered by some in the islands on social media, however, who believe the guesthouse is not good value for money when it comes to reservations for several people.

Wish Thomson, of Lerwick, said she was sorry to learn of the impending closure, the guest house “has not been affordable for years”.

She said that while the establishment was comfortable for children, “when a mother and child are charged between £ 70-90 per night, and more if a grandparent joins, it is simply better to stay in a Travelodge or Premier Inn and get more comfortable beds for £ 25-45 for a family room ”.

“We would have continued to go to the Red Cross if it was affordable and comfortable family beds that match the price,” she said.

There is very little accommodation at some Aberdeen hospitals, but it is offered on a regular basis. emergency only for relatives of seriously ill patients who must stay near the the hospital or relatives who had to travel in a very short time.

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