Ian Blackford MP and Kate Forbes MSP are welcoming the NHS Highland announcement that an external review is to take place of urgent care, minor injuries and A&E provision for North Skye.
Whilst both Ian and Kate are firmly behind plans for a new hospital in Broadford, they have also long campaigned for the retention of A&E facilities as well as beds in Portree to compliment the new hospital.
They each spoke in support of the review at last Saturday’s rally in Portree attended by several hundred concerned islanders, demonstrating the level of worry and demand for the retention of A&E services amongst the local population.
Ian Blackford said: “There are legitimate local concerns as to the future of A&E provision and I am delighted that these will be addressed through the establishment of an external review of the arrangements of urgent care, minor injuries and access to A&E.
“While this announcement by NHS Highland is an important step forward and creates the opportunity to consider the complementary nature of services in Portree with the new hospital in Broadford, I will continue to press for early meetings with clinicians to confirm Terms of Reference and time-scale for the external input.
“It is clear to me that the case for the retention of A&E is irrefutable and I fully expect the external review will conclude the effectiveness of past A&E delivery and the continuing need for patients to access services within the golden hour, demonstrating why services must be retained on a 24/7 basis in Portree.”
Kate Forbes MSP added: “There was a real show of strength and solidarity in Portree as over 300 people turned up for the march and speeches.
“After my last meeting with Save Portree Hospital campaigners, I wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and NHS Highland to make two points.
“Firstly, that there was a gulf between reassurances that were being given about the future of Portree Hospital and people’s experiences on the ground. In answer to that, there will be an independent, external reviewer of the services provided in Portree Hospital which will be completely unbiased.
“Secondly, that the people of north and west Skye need a means of shaping the future of Portree Hospital.
“The Cabinet Secretary’s means of answering that is to establish a forum for sharing information and taking forward actions. All in all, I do believe that progress is being made, and it is to the credit of the campaigners for not giving up.”