Highland Council Welcomes Change in Direction for West Highland Health Services Project
2nd December 2003
5,900 people - three quarters of all households wrote letters.
The Highland Council has warmly welcomed a decision by NHS Highland to rethink plans for future acute hospital services in the Belford Hospital, Fort William.
As a result of unprecedented representations from throughout Lochaber, the Board has agreed that the next phase of the West Highland Project will bring together a Solutions Group, which will involve key parties to agree the best possible solution for sustainable and affordable acute services for the Belford.
Local GP and Vice Convener of The Highland Council Dr Michael Foxley was asked to address the Highland NHS Board during their discussion in Inverness today (Tuesday). He suggested that the parties work together constructively to positively resolve issues.
He said: "I very much welcome the change in direction by the Highland NHS Board, who clearly recognise the strength of opposition in Lochaber to any proposed downgrading of the Belford Hospital. It is quite remarkable that 5,900 people - three-quarters of the households in the area - took the time and trouble to write to the NHS Highland Board to voice their concerns. I am also pleased that the Board noted that our Lochaber Medical Community Group have done a lot of work on consultant numbers, rotas and training.
"We are happy to work with the Highland NHS Board as well as with other agencies especially the Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, to address these key issues which affect the Belford and will be of benefit to Wick, Oban and Stornoway. It is essential to retain 24/7 consultant led services."
He stressed that without a consultant-led service in rural hospitals, the Highlands would fail to attract inward investment and hasten depopulation and the decline of our communities. Ultimately the Scottish Executive would need to address this.
Councillor Olwyn Macdonald, Lochaber Area Convener of The Highland Council said, "I am pleased that we have moved away from sitting in judgement on options. The new approach will see closer working together to solve the problems that are facing us. I remain firm in my view that we need a 24 hour, consultant-led, acute hospital at the Belford Hospital."
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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