Ge­og­ra­phy dic­tat­ing level of care

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - FEATURES -

It is a fine bal­ance to strike – the abil­ity to ac­cess care ver­sus the ca­pac­ity to de­liver that care. It is a jug­gling act the NHS has been held ac­count­able for time and time again.

In the High­land and Is­lands this is­sue is only mag­ni­fied as the health ser­vice looks to serve a wider ex­panse.

How­ever, ge­og­ra­phy shouldn’t dic­tate a level of care.

Un­for­tu­nately, it seems for some that this is the case as they bat­tle a post­code lot­tery of how and when they can ac­cess health ser­vices.

New anal­y­sis from NHS High­land has re­vealed 10,000 out­pa­tient vis­its were made to raig­more Hos­pi­tal in the past year by peo­ple liv­ing more than 100 miles away. Tak­ing into ac­count the home­ward jour­ney, that equates to about 100 cir­cum­fer­ences of Earth.

But more im­por­tantly that also equates to ex­tended time off work, ex­tra lo­gis­tics plan­ning and added fi­nan­cial pres­sure, con­tribut­ing to a less than sat­is­fac­tory ex­pe­ri­ence.

NHS High­land has ad­mit­ted as much and vowed to start “fo­cussed work” on tack­ling the prob­lem.

The fo­cused work must re­sult in de­liv­er­able im­prove­ments.

Be­cause the 10,000 fig­ure ac­counts for those who can over­come the hur­dles to ac­cess health care.

What it doesn’t tally are those who un­for­tu­nately are not as able.

“10,000 out­pa­tient vis­its were made to Raig­more Hos­pi­tal in the past year”

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