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."
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.
[Printer Friendly Version]