Wednesday, November 20, 2019
The skye times mobile

The constituency MSP for Raasay and Skye has described the lack of progress from NHS Highland to find agreed out-of-hours healthcare cover for the Isle of Raasay as "utterly exasperating".

After a series of constructive meetings with the island community in the first half of the year, which included an assurance from David Alston, chair of the NHS Highland board, to find a solution quickly, there is still no out-of-hours, urgent cover.

Kate Forbes MSP has now voiced her frustration about the sorry saga, and has also raised the situation with the Scottish Government.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said: "As we approach the end of 2017, I'm immensely frustrated that Raasay still does not have cover out-of-hours.

"This time last year, NHS Highland agreed to my request for a series of meetings with Raasay community members to design a service for Raasay.

"We then had four successful meetings in the first half of the year, at which NHS Highland agreed that Raasay needed a suitably qualified professional to cover out-of-hours." 

Kate Forbes MSP continued: "However, every deadline that was set and every agreement that was reached has since been ignored and Raasay residents are in the same boat as they were last year.

"In terms of all the health issues across the west coast, the lack of progress on Raasay has left me incredulous and exasperated.

"It is really not very difficult to do as we agreed at the last meeting in June and the lack of urgency and lack of understanding is utterly exasperating.

"The question is how much longer will it take before Raasay has out-of-hours cover. It was agreed at the beginning of the year by the Chair of NHS Highland that Raasay required suitable out-of-hours cover and so every day that passes without such out-of-hours cover is a dereliction of duty."

Previously, there was a commitment from NHS Highland to circulate a job description to the community by the end of June (2017) for the community to influence, with the understanding that it would go live over the summer.

Kate Forbes MSP received a letter in August from NHS Highland which did not recognise that agreement.

After meeting with Raasay residents, a subsequent letter went back to the chief executive and board chair of NHS Highland noting the disbelief and disappointment.

This was followed up with a meeting, at which board chair David Alston confirmed that he still believed Raasay needed a suitably qualified professional for out-of-hours.

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