Statement To CHAT From Labour Candidate Olivia Bell
15th May 2017
Caithness Health Action Team.
CHAT's decision to withdraw from the Caithness Maternity and Gynaecological Group should make every politician sit up and take notice.
It shows the strength of feeling and distrust from the community and it’s hard to see how that can be bridged to begin a dialogue again.
Health, as everyone already knows, is a devolved issue and the responsibility of the Scottish Government. And, as every CHAT campaigner also knows, the SNP’s Health Secretary regularly bats any problems back to NHS Highland burdened by having to make £100million of cuts in the next three years.
Meantime at risk pregnant women are having to travel to Raigmore to give birth and this can be very stressful, for not just for the mothers, but their partners and other members of the family.
Add to that concerns over the future of Dunbar Hospital, its staffing problems, shortage of GPs, missed waiting time targets and issues over the lack of Patient Transport, especially in Sutherland, and people are really worried that the area will be the forgotten region when it comes to health care.
While it is extremely hard to argue against health experts, both internal and external, who have said that previous maternity services at Caithness General were too risky for some pregnant women, CHAT is right to continue to push for better services and not give up the fight. Experts tend to find solutions when people refuse to give up.
If elected, I would work hard to increase investment in rural health and push for more innovative programmes to be introduced, modelled and centred on the more remote areas of the region. Vital would be keeping consultants' skills up to date, while still serving patients in rural areas and finding more money for local facilities.
I would liaise with Scottish Labour MSPs who have already backed a 1p increase on the basic rate of income tax to invest in public services such as the NHS, social security and education. Those earning less than £21,000 would see no change and someone on £28,000 would pay £65 a year in extra tax.
At Westminster, Labour has already said it would "renationalise" the health service and bring services back into public hands.
The future of our health service is too important to leave in the hands of the Tories, who want to strip it and privatise it, or the SNP who want to centralise services and starve the NHS of cash so cuts have to be made year on year. This is now coming home to the people of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.
There must be a solution in Caithness which will satisfy the community.
Have you had problems with healthcare? Do you want to complain, but need someone to help you? Caithness Health Action Team have organised for Patient Advice and Support Service to come to Wick (am in the Norseman hotel) and Thurso (pm in the Pentland hotel) on the 17th April. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Private message Caithness Health Action Team on Facebook Phone:07437340146 This service is confidential and by appointment..
Five members of CHAT formed the delegation to meet with the health minister Shona Robison on Wednesday 7th February 2018. The team from CHAT each took different elements of health concerns in Caithness to present to those present.
A candlelit vigil in support of the hospital and staff is to be held on Thursday 26th October 2017 at the hospital - bring candles or torches. Starts at 6.30pm and will not last long.
Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT) have now put the 100 Mile Helper Kits together and wil shortly be distrubiting them to Hositals and GP practices. The 100 Mile Helper kits are good to go! First batches going to hospitals today.
Rev. John Nugent the minister at St Fergus Church handed over £794 from the Wedding Dresses display by the ladies at St Fergus Church, Wick.
The ladies of St Fergus church rallied round to help Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT) with yet another fund raiser. Each year they choose a cause to support either abroad or local This year they decide to help CHAT in their efforts to stop continued reduction in local health services by NHS Highland.
Saturday 7th October 10.30am - 3.30pm Call in to see the display and support CHAT..
Maureen and Gordon Doull from Wick have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Mackays Hotel and asked their guests to make donations to Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT) as they are so concerned at what is happening to health services in Caithness. The couple handed over a £750 to Bill Fernie, chairman of CHAT and founder member Councillor Nicola Sinclair.
Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT) has gathered 2,410 postcards from members of the public protesting the centralisation of health services under NHS Highland. The postcards carry the slogan ‘100 miles too far' in reference to the 100 mile journey patients frequently have to travel to receive basic care.
The Convener of The Highland Council's Caithness Area Committee, Councillor David Flear, has joined the call for health bosses to consider upgrading maternity services at Caithness General Hospital. Councillor Flear intends raising the matter at the next Area Committee meeting on Monday 15 September and expects to send a firmly worded response to the Highland Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, who are currently reviewing maternity services provided in Wick as part of a Scotland-wide review.
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