Campaign Pressure Rises Steadily
6th October 2000
No one in Caithness can be unaware of the mounting pressure being built up by the MUMS campaign in Caithness. Local opinion is being gauged by petition in every part of the county now. Every group where mothers meet is discussing the topic and every person in Caithness is being made aware of the threat not just to the maternity service itself but the possible knock on effects of other hospital based services. People are beginning to realise that several services provided in the hospital might be no longer considered viable and so like dominoes they would fall one after another - maternity first, then possibly anaesthetics and who can guess next as one tier knocks on to a reduction in the next and so to it also coming under threat in turn.
The campaign team are speaking to politicians in all parties and at all levels. Letter writing is going on and no post bag is going to be empty for long on this topic until it is resolved. The Health Board decision to delay the review which was to have started shortly is seen as a delaying tactic by many people in the hope that the campaign may die out. This is unlikely as several politicians of several parties are now swinging in behind the campaign. This is too close to people to be left to chance and everyone in Caithness is likely to support this highly local issue for any number of reasons.
Perhaps the minister should consider whether months of campaigning is really necessary if assurances could be given not to down grade the service but put all the energy which will be required to take on the whole Caithness population into finding a solution to ensure that clinical standards and training of medical staff can be kept up to acceptable levels. No one doubts that the low birth rate now evident in the north is a problem for the staff in maintaining their skills. This is in part to other outside economic forces as unemployment and education takes young people away from the area.
Caithnessians are having babies but they are having them in every other part of the country or indeed the world as they leave to get work. Just look at the reunion pages on this web site. We already know of young Caithness families in Australia and elsewhere with up to four children. The primary schools in Caithness certainly wish they were here. But that problem cannot be solved quickly despite years of trying by the authorities.
The fact is that if the services are down graded they will probably never be reinstated and Caithness will become even less attractive to people thinking about bring their young families to the county when mothers would be faced with over 240 miles round trip to see consultants or feel insecure in the knowledge that expertise was only available at the end of a phone.
[This article has been transferred here from our archives]
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.
7:00am, 8:00am, 9:00am - possibly throughout the day George Bruce Interviews on Moray Firth Radio News 12:00 Noon Demonstration Begins At Caithness General Hospital 12:01pm Toot Your Horn Campaign Begins Motorist are being asked to toot their horns as they pass the demonstration at Caithness General 12:05pm Professor Calder Team Arrives Wick Airport 12:15pm Press Conference At Wick Airport 12:40pm Professor Calder Team Arrival Expected Caithness General 1:00pm Council Press Conference At Wick Town Hall Area Convenor David Flear will lead the press conference with Jenny Spence, League of Friends, Jamie Stone MSP. George Bruce, Caithness & North Sutherland Health Forum and two mothers.
The visit of Professor Andrew Calder to Wick on Monday 15 December had a big profile as it gained mentions on Moray Firth Radio, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Scotland Television News. Repeat mentions on several news broadcasts are ensuring the issue is highlighted.
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