The vision of future NHS health care for Skye will see the redesign of services in the area, bringing a new, modern integrated health and social care ‘hub’ in Broadford and a ‘spoke’ facility in Portree.

Plans to redesign services in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross took a step forward this month when the Scottish Capital Investment Group approved the Initial Agreement which had been submitted by the Health Board. NHS Highland has now been invited to submit an Outline Business Case, the next step in the process.

With approval now given on the Initial Agreement the team will be concentrating on further developing the clinical model and workforce plan as part of the business case process.

Gill McVicar, director of operations for North and West Highland, said: “This is a significant point in the formal process and brings us one step closer to having a state-of-the-art facility for the people of Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.”

“The new arrangements will also enable us to further develop community services including care-at-home and mental health services, with integrated teams working flexibly to support people at home or in a homely environment for as long as possible, and to reduce the amount of time people have to be in hospital.

“The outline business case will give a more detailed description of the agreed service specification, accommodation requirements and technical aspects of the design. We will continue to work with and involve local people, staff and other providers as this progresses.”

Gill added: “We are delighted to be at this stage and I am extremely grateful to members of the Steering Group, Project Team and Project Board for immense contributions and commitment to improving services in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross, in some cases, for many years. We have a lot of work still to do and the team is focused on keeping the programme on schedule.” 

Councillor Hamish Fraser who is a member of the Steering Group said: “This is very welcome news and another positive step forward. It has taken a while to get the necessary approval but significant work has taken place over the last year to make sure that the more detailed work was completed. 

“I was impressed with the meeting NHS Highland held last week in Portree on heart attacks and cardiac care. The presentations and subsequent public participation session was engaging, informative and well received by local people attended.  I hope we take this fresh approach into our wider engagement about the redesign for all of our communities.”

Councillor Fraser continued “I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved in the work of the Steering Group and I hope that we can now move forward together to achieve the vision of better supported care at or near to home and a new state of the art Hub facility for the people of Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross, that will serve the area well for future generations.”