Skye MSP Kate Forbes is bringing constituents' concerns direct to the Health Secretary Shona Robison.
On Friday (29 September) , a day after seeking assurances from Scotland’s First Minister about emergency care provision at Portree Hospital, Kate Forbes MSP met with SOS Skye campaigners in Portree. She spent an hour and a half listening to and fielding questions from a 40-strong group in a round-table meeting format.
Ms Forbes expressed her dismay that the experiences described by scores of her constituents did not match NHS Highland’s assurances.
The Skye MSP promised to summarise constituents' concerns in a letter to the Health Secretary Shona Robison. Kate says: “I was pleased to ask the First Minister for assurances about the long-term future of Portree Hospital at First Minister’s Questions, and I am grateful for her answer that emergency cover will continue.
“But after speaking to scores of my constituents on Skye, the experience of those using services at Portree Hospital does not appear to match the assurances given by NHS Highland.
“The most obvious of these is around emergency care, as the vast majority do not currently believe that Portree Hospital has the standard of out-of-hours and emergency provision that is to be expected.
“Emergency care to me, and to most people, means round-the-clock, reliable and sustainable healthcare at Portree Hospital.”
The Skye MSP continued: “What has become clear to me, after a day of meetings and listening to my constituents, is that nobody seems to know what out-of-hours and emergency care provision exists.
“Some people say emergency cover in Portree ceases at 6pm, others told me 11pm, and this demonstrates the lack of meaningful communication and consultation from NHS Highland with the local community.
“Regrettably, this has been a continual theme over the past few years, and it has eroded what little goodwill and trust was left in management decisions.
“To be clear, this is not about the redesign, this is not a north versus south debate, this is about an entire region of the island which is unsure what provision there is at their local hospital.
“The people of Portree and the north of Skye deserve much, much better, and I will not stand idly by as their constituency MSP.
“While this is firmly a case for NHS Highland, I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robison, with a summary of the pertinent points from the discussion on Friday.”