League Of Friends Profile Higher Than Ever
13th December 2003
Jenny Spence and her fellow fundraisers find themselves at the forefront of a growing campaign to retain services in the Caithness General Hospital. From a small fund-raising group normally donating items to the hospital they find themselves rocketing towards national status as they galvanise local groups and support into one campaign to retain and improve services at their local hospital.
This small group of ladies has in a very few weeks lifted the campaign to heights previously unknown taking with them politicians local and national, a huge range of voluntary groups and the general public, galvanising the pent up anger from previous investigations into their campaign.
With a zero budget (they have refused all monetary assistance) they have depended on community spirit and determination to drive the campaign forward. Few campaigns have risen so quickly and with so much involvement at public meetings.
These ladies have read the mood correctly and taken appropriate action swiftly and with purpose. They are ordinary wives, mothers and grandmothers. The establishment perhaps needs to seriously consider not just the mumbo jumbo of risk assessment, financial management but the human factors before they come to any decision on the long term future of services like Maternity in the far north.
Experts have been proven wrong on many other topics - and mothers instincts often proved correct in the face of medical opinion. to a great extent we are not talking about clinical factors - it is about the will to provide quality services in rural areas.
The League of Friends has seen the Writing On The Wall for the hospital and perhaps for more wide ranging consequences to follow. A cornered mother in the wild often fights back and it should be remembered they often bite back. An organised group of them look even more frightening.
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.
Professor Calder is to hold a short press conference at Wick Airport shortly after he arrives. With interest in the visit now coming under intense scrutiny he is likely to face a barrage of questions from reporters.
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