NHS Highland has confirmed plans to appoint a dedicated coordinator to increase the pace of the Ritchie report implementation.
Speaking at a public information session in Portree yesterday (Tuesday 4 December), the board's director of public health, Hugo van Woerden, confirmed that the coordinator would work with the local community to speed up the implementation over the course of the next six months.
Hugo was speaking as a member of a panel at a Q&A session at the Tigh-na-Sgire council chamber on Tuesday 4th December 2018 that included the report author Sir Lewis Ritchie, NHS Highland chair David Alston, and Councillor Ronald MacDonald. The panel was chaired by Councillor John Gordon and more than 50 members of the public attended the evening event.
The session followed a day of meetings between Sir Lewis and representatives of the local communities, health care groups, NHS Highland management and partner organisations on the progress made since his report was published last May.
After the session, Hugo said: “There was agreement that the pace of implementations needs to increase in the next six months. So I am pleased to confirm that NHS Highland is to identify a dedicated NHS coordinator to work alongside the coordinator who has been appointed through funding obtained by four communities in the north of Skye. This will help to improve coordination, communication and progress on the fifteen recommendations in the report.
Meanwhile, speaking about yesterday’s visit by Sir Lewis, David Alston, NHS Highland’s chair, said: “Tuesday's meetings were a useful opportunity to take stock of progress in implementing the recommendations of Sir Lewis Ritchie's report.
“NHS Highland confirmed its commitment to implementing the fifteen recommendations, working with partners including the communities of Skye Lochalsh & South West Ross (SL&SWR), Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS24.”
He added that over the course of the day he became conscious of the considerable collaborative efforts already made between all the partners since Sir Lewis’s report was published.
He said: “The work that has been done by community representatives and NHS staff over the past six months, and the numbers who participated in conversations on Tuesday, demonstrates the shared commitment to the improvement of health and social care services in SL&SWR.”