Caithness Economic Partnership to Carry Out Review on Impact of Maternity Services Downgrade
10th November 2000
The Maternity Review is certainly going to stack up the reports with the Caithness Economic Partnership going to carry out an economic assessment of the impact of changes to the service if any are brought in. This seems sensible but can it be taken in isolation. There is a general feeling that is growing that services in general for Caithness are longer so important as cost savings. Will the north always suffer when the Highland structure requires to cut costs. We already have plenty of evidence that since "Designed to Care" abolished the Caithness & Sutherland NHS Trust and split into Acute and Primary Trusts with management control effectively shifted to Inverness that decisions taken have an adverse effect on Caithness & to a lesser extent Sutherland. The imminent closure of the laundry in Caithness to have all the linen transported to Inverness is yet another example. All of the decisions are being taken independently without it seems thought to the overall cumulative effect.
Loss of managerial posts, closure of the laundry, downgrading of maternity seems to be a drip-drip downward spiral each one leading inexorably to the next. The maternity unit is a domino in another set. If it falls other services will go as that knocks on into other professions within the hospital. Before long the necessity for a range of other services will be brought into question on cost grounds. Health services in rural areas will always be more expensive on a unit cost basis - they always have been. The quality of care is expected to be the same for everyone but if that quality is said to be the same by the population making ever more trips to Inverness then something is going seriously wrong. Dirty linen trundling up and down the road from Caithness is bad enough but patients is even worse.
Sit down and make a list of all the withdrawals of all of the withdrawals of government departments, local authority cut backs over the last 10 years - look at the numbers of jobs gone and you will understand how the economy is also tied to these decisions. The list is long and getting longer. Thurso has been saved from much of the impact by the new firms attracted and the continuation and recent expansion of work at Dounreay but the drip of other jobs in the health service has a definite economic impact as well as for services to people on the area. Anyone can put their comments on to the Caithness.Org Message Board - lets hear them.
[This article has been transferred here from our archives]
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.
Tune in to Moray Firth Radio to hear George Bruce chairman of the Caithness & North Sutherland Health Forum being interviewed about the current Maternity Review to coincide with Professor Calder's visit to Caithness General Hospital. Listen on radio or on the web by going to Moray Firth Radio web site and click on Listen.
A variety of groups that involve young mothers is likely to arrive with pushchairs and prams on Monday. Several groups from around Caithness intend to be represented at the Noon Demonstration with several intending to attend both the noon and 6:00pm demos.
As local feeling continues to rise on the Maternity Services issue in Caithness confirmation has been given that a second demonstration will take place at 6:00pm at Caithness General Hospital on Monday 15th. The first demo will happen to coincide with the arrival of Professor Calder and his team as part of the review.
Posters in Caithness supporting the demonstrations at Caithness General Hospital on Monday 15 December have turned a current Television advertising campaign for flights from Inverness airport on its head. Whilst the TV ad shows how great it is that you can now fly to many places from Inverness the posters bring home the point that few in the north want the same service for delivering babies up to 130 miles away..
Caithness Area Convenor David Flear is receiving the biggest correspondence he has ever received on any topic by a huge margin. Mail is arriving every day by post and email is constantly popping in to add weight to his arguments.
Caithness Convenor David Flear will lead a Highland Council Press Conference at Wick Town Hall on Monday 15th at 1:00pm time in the Wick Town Hall. Councillor Flear will chair the briefing.
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