The Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee voted unanimously to keep a long-running petition on the controversial redesign of healthcare services open for a further six months.

Earlier today (Thursday 7 June) the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee decided it would return to the matter at a future date, pending the implementation of Sir Lewis Ritchie's recent report into healthcare provision in the north of Skye.

The Holyrood petition from SOS Skye, which was first heard in 2015, calls for an Independent Scrutiny Panel (ISP) to be established to examine NHS Highland's major service change proposals in the region.

The committee will write to the Scottish Government to ask for their views on Sir Lewis Ritchie's independent review of out-of-hours service on Skye.

Kate Forbes MSP will raise the shortage of affordable Highland homes in the Scottish Parliament chamber during this week's General Questions.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch has scores of housing cases across her vast constituency, and anticipates more Scottish Government-funded homes becoming available by 2021 based on the 50,000 target.

Last week a Highland Council report highlighted the general "upward" trend of homelessness on the Isle of Skye which was creating "considerable difficulties for the housing team", whilst over in Badenoch people can struggle to get on the housing ladder because house prices dwarf the median local wage.

Are you a dinosaur fanatic?  Head for Skye, says Wanderlust.

The travel magazine rated the island as one of Seven Real-Life Jurassic Parks Around The World That Dinosaur Fanatics Will Love.   

Skye's dinosaur prints and tracks have been recognised as "globally important" and are helping researches to gain a better understanding of dinosaur development.  

Little wonder, then, that the island is number four on the travel magazine's list. 

"You can literally walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs," Wanderlust says, commenting on the prints at Staffin Beach.  The list also praises Staffin Museum for its casts of the prints, as well as dinosaur bones and fossils from the area.

 

Key changes to Skye hospital care have been approved by the Scottish Government.  

An Outline Business Case for Skye hospital care has been approved and will see Skye healthcare "bundled" with a redesign in Badenoch and Strathspey.  

Alterations include refurbishment of Portree Hospital and Broadford and Kyle Health Centres.  

Healthcare in Skye took a step forward in May, following the recommendations published in Sir Lewis Ritchie's Report.  

The recommendations included 24/7 access to Out of Hours urgent care at Portree Hospital; an increase in the ambulance service's capacity and capability; developing a rural training centre of excellence for clinical staff and in-patient bed availability at Portree Hospital continuing until there is a sufficient alternative provision.  

Police will soon be keeping teddy bears in their vehicles.

The "Trauma Teddies" will be used to comfort young children who come into contact with police through traumatic circumstances.

Police are working with the Safe, Strong and Free charity to bring the bears to the Highlands and Islands.  Once enough bears are collected, they will be kept in the police vehicles.  

Anyone wishing to help create the cuddly comforting bears can do so by getting a knitting pattern from Safe Strong and Free (email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..) 

Police are investigating the whereabouts of a woman visiting Scotland.

Saskia Schiffer was last seen in the Berryden area of Aberdeen about 4pm on Tuesday 5 June.  Saskia is visiting the area from Germany and it is likely that she will be travelling through Scotland - with Glen Coe being specifically mentioned.  

She is described as 5ft 2, slim build, shoulder length light brown hair, wearing navy clothing and trainers.

Anyone who has knowledge of Saskia or her whereabouts or comes across anybody fitting her description is asked to contact Police Scotland via 101 quoting inc 2591 of the 5th of June 2018.

Members of the Isle of Skye and Raasay Committee have given their backing to progress being made on proposals for developing air services to and from Skye. They have also given their support to the setting up of a working group to spearhead the establishment of a trial air link between Skye and Glasgow.

A paper setting out a proposed way forward was presented to the HITRANS Board meeting at the end of April.

At the Area Committee yesterday (Monday 4 June) Councillors had the opportunity to discuss the report which sets out the wider socio-economic benefits of reintroducing scheduled air services to Skye and looks at delivering the new investment in an affordable and sustainable way. Taking into account constrained public sector finances, recommendations in the report include the initial setting up of a trial air link between the Skye and Glasgow and proposes that a working group be established to develop this option.

Police are appealing for information after a hit and run collision in Portree yesterday (Monday 4 June.)

The collision took place in the Co-Op car park at around 10:15am.  

Police say they are looking for a Volkswagen Passat estate with BBS type alloys.

Anyone with information is asked to call 101.

The full results for the Trotternish Ridge Race, held on Saturday 2 June, have been released.

Alexander Beaven raced into first place with his time of 3 hours 16 minutes and 21 seconds.

He was followed by Dave Ward, from the Pennine Fell Runners club, with a time of 3 hours 29 minutes and 54 seconds.

Iain Stewart took third place in 3 hours 40 minutes and 42 seconds.

Sarah Wingrove was the first lady across the line, finishing seventh overall, with an excellent time of 3 hours 57 minutes and 30 seconds.

The second lady to reach the finish line was Mary Lye with a time of 4 hours 36 minutes and 39 seconds.

Catherine Magill became the third lady to finish the race, with a time of 4 hours 41 minutes and 1 second.

A small piece of plastic may have been "instrumental" in the death of a juvenile harp seal.

The seal was found dead on Skye was later necropsied by the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS.)

SMASS described the case as "unusual" - noting that the harp seal was outside the normal range for the ice-associated species.

The animal was likely under a year old and had a small fragment of plastic in its stomach.  The plastic, approximately 6 centimetres square, was lodged in the stomach.

SMASS say the seal was "not a well-thriven animal at all," describing it as in emaciated condition.  

They said: "Seeing the plastic lodged in the stomach was yet another reminder of the impact of plastic pollution in the marine environment.