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.
When Bruce de Wert of Georgesons Solicitors heard of the distress of new Mums having to drive back from Inverness with their newborn in danger, he knew he had to do something. The problem is that newborns cannot sit in car seats without compressing their lungs and it is a long way from Inverness to Caithness! And, so, he announced that this year the charity for Wills Week would be CHAT who provide lie flat car seats for for newborn babies.
On Friday 18th October four of the CHAT's team visited the new Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall, Orkney. The main purpose of the visit was partly to see then hospital but in particular how maternity services work there.
Operations had to be cancelled across NHS Highland because hospitals simply could not cope, new figures reveal. Data published by ISD Scotland shows that 45 operations were cancelled in May 2019 due to non-clinical reasons such as not having enough staff or unclean equipment.
Mikie Aitken , Quality Control Inspector for Subsea7 Wester Site ,recently won a thousand pounds for a safety award while working on the Equinor Snorre project to be given to a charity of his choice. He chose to donate to Caithness Health Action Team 100mile helper kits which are given to Caithness General Hospital , Community Maternity Unit who give the kits to local women that have to be quickly transferred to Raigmore maternity hospital in an emergency situation.
A visit of the Labour Party Leader in Scotland Richard Leonard MSP accompanied by Rhoda Grant MSP heard from the third sector and Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT) about problems arising to the community from changes to health provision and wide range of topics. Roger Saxon the local Labour party organiser and Alan Tait from Caithness Voluntary Group facilitated the meeting at the Pulteney Centre in Wick.
Uptake jumps to 96% as 80,000 deliveries made to parents. The new Baby Box design, created by a team of children and young people, has been unveiled.
A popular resource for pregnant women and their families has been updated to include the latest information on perinatal mental health support. A refreshed edition of Scotland's ‘Ready Steady Baby' publication was launched today by Minister for Public Health Joe FitzPatrick.
With respect to the new hospital at Aviemore Dr Boyd Peters said "We have been on this journey since 2012 and the land purchase is a significant step towards securing much needed modern healthcare facilities for the population of Badenoch and Strathspey" After seven years it finally reaches the planning stage so that must mean yet another two or even three years until its on the ground and working. In Caithness redesign of health services has been going on and on for several years and recently we have the early stages of a "hub" idea being promoted.
NHS Highland's annual review has been rescheduled for Tuesday 09 April 2019. It will be held in the Centre for Health Science, Inverness with Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, in attendance.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has raised with the First Minister why the air ambulance was not initially called when a Caithness mother went into labour at 30 weeks with twins. At First Minister's Questions today, Mrs Grant told Nicola Sturgeon the woman had bravely shared her experience of giving birth under the current maternity provisions in Caithness.
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