The external view of Out-of-Hours Urgent Care services in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross is to begin in earnest next week.
On Monday 26th February 2018 Sir Lewis Ritchie will start a four-day visit to the area as part an independent examination of local services provided by NHS Highland.
The visit follows an initial series of introductory meetings held on Friday 2 February in Portree and Broadford with local community representatives, clinicians and managers.
A series of meetings are proposed during Sir Lewis’s visit. This will include offering to meet representatives from the SOS-NHS action group; elected members, representatives from community councils of North Skye, Glenelg, Raasay, South Skye and Lochalsh; and key relevant NHS Highland partner agencies including Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), NHS 24, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Police Scotland and the Coast Guard.
Sir Lewis will also meet with a range of NHS staff providing health and social care across the area including GPs and hospital-based staff.
Commenting on the forthcoming visit, Sir Lewis said: “I am keen to meet as many people as possible. I have invited local councillors to kindly assist me to identify people who they feel it would be helpful for me to meet or speak with.
“While it may not be possible to meet with everyone, I will endeavour to ensure that there are mechanisms in place for people to have their views heard. Alongside this, my colleagues and I are reviewing a range of information, reports and data. This is to help to understand in detail, urgent local health and social care provision in the area."
Sir Lewis - who chaired the National Review of Primary Care Out-of-Hours Services in 2015 for the Scottish Government – will lead a small team of health professionals drawn from the staff of other NHS boards in Scotland that also may have remote and rural service delivery challenges.
This will include: an Out-of-Hours urgent care clinical lead; a senior doctor; a senior nurse; a service manager; and representatives from SAS and NHS 24.