Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon has commissioned an independent review into reconfiguration proposals in the rural areas of Dumfries and Galloway.
The health board’s proposals include options to close up to five of nine community hospitals in a bid to improve patient pathways and address Scotland’s health workforce shortage.
The plans are particularly controversial due to the remote nature of some of the affected communities. The review team will be led by Scottish Care Commission chair Frank Clark and will include experts in providing healthcare in remote and rural areas.
Ms Sturgeon said the review was in line with the government’s pledge to ensure that proposals for significant service change were subject to robust independent scrutiny,
She said: “We know that local healthcare services are very much valued by the people of Scotland and, when someone in the family is ill, having services close to home can make a big difference.”