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 would like to give our sincere thanks to this fantastic team who have raised a significant amount for us £1,765 .This money will be used to help our community. They have cycled a distance of 874 miles equivalent of John o Groats to Lands end journey.
Caithness Health Action Team along with the League of Friends for Caithness General hospital wanted to help patients and staff in our local Caithness hospitals. We contacted NHSH and agreed that providing high quality Samsung tablets ,with protective wipe able covers would be an excellent way to help ,especially as at the moment there is currently no visiting allowed due to the pandemic.
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.
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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.
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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.
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