Castletown and District Community Council Highlight Concerns Over Downgrading of Maternity Unit
25th October 2000
Castletown and District Community Council have now discussed the review with its implications for downgrading services in the maternity unit. The references they made concerning the abolition of the Caithness NHS Trust show that Caithness people feel they were right to be concerned about the abolition.
Now that the moves on units like maternity are being made and the trust controlled from Inverness has a budget deficit peripheral areas will suffer. Caithness and other outlying parts of the Highlands already feel powerless to control their own destiny in important matters. Is it any wonder that their is less and less interest in decision making which seems to take for ever and invariably goes against the wishes of people in the furthest rural areas?
Many people already have extreme problems with transport and are used to making ever more journeys to Inverness.
This is one journey no woman should be forced into making with all the difficulties for families in visiting a hospital for some over 130 miles away. This would be a real retrograde step. And what's next if this is allowed to happen. There will always be another crisis as an excuse to close or downgrade. Skill shortages, lack of staff, too few patients and so on. This does not give any feeling of confidence in local structures once thought of as reliable.
This continuing struggle to retain good services in rural area does nothing for confidence that rural is a good place to be. It may all be part of a national picture but as Post Offices, petrol stations, primary schools continue to close this will just be another nail in the coffin of rural life.
[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.
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.
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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.