Government responds to Skye healthcare concerns
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.’