Gov­ern­ment re­sponds to Skye health­care con­cerns

The Oban Times - - News - MON­ICA GIB­SON mgib­son@oban­times.co.uk

PRO­POS­ALS to re­design health care on Skye were car­ried out in an ‘ap­pro­pri­ate man­ner’, com­mu­nity coun­cils have been as­sured.

Health ser­vices across Scot­land are be­ing re- de­signed to ad­dress sus­tain­abil­ity and en­able ef­fec­tive best use of avail­able funds and de­vel­op­ing prac­tises.

The is­sue has caused con­tro­versy, not least on Skye where NHS High­land plans to build a new hospi­tal in Broad­ford, a move which, ac­cord­ing to SOSNHSSKYE, has led to the re­moval of pa­tient beds in Portree.

This, com­bined with pa­tients hav­ing to travel to the main­land for treat­ment and a lack of endof-life care on the is­land, led to the group cre­at­ing a pe­ti­tion for a re-think of the re­design.

In a bid to ad­dress some of the con­cerns, in­clud­ing a per­ceived lack of trans­parency by NHS High­land, a meet­ing was held in Kyle on April 3 where rep­re­sen­ta­tives from six com­mu­nity coun­cils met with of­fi­cials of NHS High­land. As a re­sult of the meet­ing, Rob Ware of Sleat Com­mu­nity Coun­cil wrote to the Health Per­for­mance and De­liv­ery Direc­torate of the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment on be­half of Glenelg and Ar­nis­dale, Loch Duich, Broad­ford and Strath, Kyle, Lochcar­ron and Sleat.

Char­lotte Jack of the per­for­mance man­age­ment di­vi­sion of the direc­torate said that fol­low­ing con­sid­er­a­tion of the re­sponses to the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, the pro­pos­als for the mod­erni­sa­tion com­mu­nity and hospi­tal ser­vice had been en­dorsed.

Ms Jack said Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary for Health and Sport Shona Robin­son had been clear NHS High­land had made a com­pelling case for change, which was sup­ported by the ma­jor­ity of local stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing clin­i­cal staff, plan­ning part­ners, local peo­ple and their rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Ms Robin­son was con­tent that the pro­pos­als were con­sis­tent with na­tional pol­icy and would pro­vide mod­ern, fit-for-pur­pose ser­vices for the ben­e­fit of all local peo­ple in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross and that the pro­posed

‘The Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary was con­vinced by the Scot­tish Health Coun­cil, and in­de­pen­dent or­gan­i­sa­tion, that NHS High­land con­ducted this process in a mean­ing­ful and in­clu­sive way pro­vid­ing local peo­ple with numer­ous and mean­ing­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­press their views, said Ms Jack

She con­cluded: ‘The de­ci­sion to ap­prove the health board pro­pos­als has been made and it is now im­por­tant to move for­ward and en­sure the plans put for­ward by NHS High­land pro­vide the best pos­si­ble ser­vices for all the peo­ple of Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross and NHS High­land have given as­sur­ances that they will con­tinue to take this for­ward with the full in­volve­ment of local stake­hold­ers.’

Mr Ware told Lochaber Times: ‘The meet­ing was very worth- while. All the rep­re­sen­ta­tives are pleased with the re­sponse we have re­ceived and to have con­fir­ma­tion the health board acted ap­pro­pri­ately.

‘ We think it is im­por­tant to look for­ward now. The hospi­tal in Portree was build in 1935, it is high time for a new one.

‘End- of-life care does need to be im­proved and there are other is­sues but we are lucky money has been al­lo­cated for this project and we need to ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity and not let it pass us by. We never wanted it to be a case of north ver­sus south but all the rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the meet­ing be­lieve Broad­ford is best placed to serve the needs of many. All it re­ally should come down to is what is best for ev­ery­one and we are con­fi­dent the re­design de­liv­ers that.’

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