Out-of-hours care at Portree Hospital should be maintained 24/7, say experts.
An external review was commissioned of the Out-of-Hours (OOH) Urgent Care services.
Sir Lewis Ritchie met with community representatives in Portree, to share a number of recommendations.
In a new report, the expert panel has recommended that out-of-hours urgent case access at Portree could be better provided by:
The Scottish Ambulance Service increasing its paramedical capacity and capability, including by giving consideration to the re-deployment of fast response vehicle capability and deployment of paramedics on shift rather than present on-call arrangements.
NHS 24 working with NHS Highland in developing a hybrid staffing role based at Portree Hospital, but could provide a service Scotland-wide.
In-patient bed availability at Portree Hospital continuing until sufficient alternative resilient provision is provided in North Skye.
While supportive of NHS Highland's strategy to provide more care at home, it was also recommended that further work be done to look at care at home and care home capacity especially in the North of Skye.
David Alston, chair of NHS Highland who commissioned the expert view commented: “Firstly, I would like to thank Sir Lewis, his panel of experts and everyone who has participated for giving so generously of their time to help us find a constructive way forward.
“NHS Highland will accept the recommendations, and will now move quickly to consider how, working with the community and our partners, we fully understand the workforce and financial implications in order to implement the recommendations.
“I was particularly pleased to see the public recognition for exemplary work of NHS Highland front line staff to deliver safe and effective delivery of urgent emergency care services on a 24/7 basis. I hope having the assurance from a panel of experts, from across Scotland, that our services are safe provides some reassurance to local communities.”
David Alston added: “The Expert Panel’s report highlighted the challenges that we face in delivering safe and sustainable services particularly in North Skye. I know that our best hope at addressing these challenges is to do so together.
“Our priority has always been to provide safe and sustainable services, and I regret that we have not always been able to take the public with us. We have to learn from that experience and use the opportunity presented by this report to rebuild trust with the communities.
“Going forward we will all have to take a different approach, an approach that enables people providing, and people receiving services to share power and responsibility, and to work together in equal, reciprocal and caring relationships to co-produce solutions. The report says this has to be a joint endeavour with joint obligations – I agree with Sir Lewis in that we ‘all must rise to the occasion’.”
A copy of the key messages and recommendations will be available on publication, which is expected by the end of this week. This will not change the recommendations but will set out in the detail the methodology, evidence, feed-back and analysis of local data.