SUPPORT GROUP IN GOOD HEART CHAIRMAN TELLS AGM
29th May 2014
CAITHNESS Heart Support Group is in fine fettle and looking forward with confidence to the challenges it faces in the new financial year.
That was the upbeat message that went out from its AGM, held, recently, in the canteen at Caithness General Hospital. The group splits its efforts between raising money for medical equipment and acting as a social forum for people with heart conditions.
The annual meeting, chaired by the group's patron, Miss Anne Dunnet, Lord Lieutenant of Caithness, heard from chairman, Ernie Ross, that the year had been another successful and productive one.
He said the heart support group had maintained its commitment to its fundraising for medical equipment for the county's three hospitals and town and country medical practices and revealed that the total bill for items provided - ranging from digital scales to vital signs monitors - had amounted to almost £9,000. The charity prides itself in the fact that it has again been able to fund the capital costs in their entirety, without the recipients having to find match funding.
Mr Ross paid tribute to his hard-working committee and made special mention of Marge Donaldson who had had to carry the load of treasurer as well as her duties of secretary, during the past 18 months, following the loss of their previous treasurer, Christine Scott. The chairman highlighted the series of fundraising and social events organised, during the past year but made the point that the bills for medical equipment, had, predictably, reduced their bank balance which would require to be replenished.
Mr Ross acknowledged that the support the continuing group had received, not only for its own fundraising efforts, but through personal donations including the proceeds from funeral collections. As always, all income is ploughed back, locally, into the provision of medical equipment.
In her opening address, Miss Dunnet said the group did "a marvellous job" particularly when it was "not all that many in numbers".
She went on: "It never ceases to amaze me the number of varied events the charity organises and the amount of money it raises."
Earlier, Miss Dunnett introduced the AGM's guest speaker, Dr Guy Platten, from the Wick Riverview medical practice who spoke about the causes and effects of heart failure, the drugs and procedures used to treat it and also advised on the sort of life style which could help maintain a healthy heart.
Dr Platten said that coronary heart disease was becoming more common, not necessarily because people’s hearts are not what they were in years gone by, but the problems were being picked up sooner and they were living long enough to develop the complaint. Caithness and Sutherland had one of the highest incidences of coronary heart disease in the 80 and over age groups, in the country. High blood pressure, hypertension, alcohol abuse, and diabetes represented a “similar” statistic as these conditions and the causes of coronary heart disease, usually went “hand-in-hand”, said Dr Platten. Coronary heart disease in terms of the length of patient time spent in hospitals was second, only to strokes in Scotland, he said.
Thanking him Miss Dunnett said that people today were fortunate to be living in an age where there was so much medical help available and added: “Our grandparents who would not have stood the same chance with heart failure. We have such a dedicated medical team here, both in the hospitals and medical practices which is very comforting. They do so much for us.”
The office bears were unanimously re-elected. They are, chairman Ernie Ross, vice-chairman, Noel Donaldson, secretary, Marge Donaldson and minute secretary, Janette Sinclair. The new treasurer is Emily Fraser. The committee is Janice MacGregor, Joyce Macdonald, Robert Bell, Joan Fraser, Heather Martin, David Laing and John Macleod.