The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)

Health board assures patients on travel


NHS Western Isles has reassured patients needing to travel for essential hospital appointmen­ts on the mainland that every effort is being made to ensure they can attend appointmen­ts as planned, after airport operator Hial closes all its airports tomorrow.

Hial is shutting airports to scheduled and routine air traffic in response to the strict measures announced by the UK and Scottish government­s this week.

As a lifeline service provider for local communitie­s, Hial has worked with Transport Scotland and Loganair to agree a skeleton schedule that will ensure that airports continue to provide essential services, including NHS passenger transfer and transport for essential key workers, such as visiting consultant­s.

All other services will cease from March 30 until further notice.

A limited timetable will run for GlasgowBen­becula, GlasgowSto­rnoway and Stornoway-Benbecula.

Royal Mail charter flights to the islands will continue. In terms of travel by ferry, CalMac has introduced an Essential Lifeline Timetable as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

The new reduced timetable will run for an initial three-week period and will be subject to continual review.

Essential travel will continue, and this includes patients travelling to hospital on the mainland for appointmen­ts.

With the suspension of the flight to Inverness, the ferry option will be vital for patients receiving essential treatment or attending urgent appointmen­ts in Raigmore Hospital in particular.

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