A Scottish Parliament committee that was today (Thursday 9 November) expected to consider a petition seeking an independent review into the redesign of healthcare services by NHS Highland in Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross, will now do so at a later date.

Due to a full agenda, the cross-party Public Petitions Committee decided to give the petition more time and deferred the item for a future meeting.

Under Holyrood rules, no committee can meet whilst there is formal business taking place in the main debating chamber.

Although not a member of the committee, Skye MSP Kate Forbes attended the meeting and intended to represent the concerns of her constituents.

Speaking afterwards, Kate Forbes MSP said: “I attended the Public Petitions Committee meeting because the petition about the redesign of healthcare was going to be discussed again by a cross-party panel of MSPs.

“This was another opportunity to highlight the concerns voiced by residents in north and west Skye about the future of Portree Hospital.”

With the Skye healthcare petition the next item on the agenda, and following consultation with committee members and Ms Forbes, Convener Johann Lamont MSP decided at 11.36am that it would not be fair to take the agenda item today.

General Questions in the Scottish Parliament chamber was set to begin at 11.40am, meaning that any discussion would have been limited to just four minutes.

Kate Forbes MSP added: “I think the committee made the right call in deferring the petition to a future business meeting.

“The future of healthcare provision on Skye is a massive subject, and certainly not one that a committee can do justice to in a mere four minutes.

“I will continue to follow the petition at Holyrood and hope to attend the next meeting.”

The petition was first considered in December 2015, and over seven Holyrood hearings the committee wrote to both NHS Highland and the Scottish Government on multiple occasions.

A future date for the committee to discuss the petition will be announced by the Public Petition Committee in due course.