BY MICHAEL RUSSELL
Broadford has been chosen as the site for a new hospital serving Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross, NHS Highland confirmed this week.
The steering group looking into the redesign of health and adult social care services in the area made its choice following an “extensive engagement exercise” by the health board. They recommended the creation of a main community resource centre and hospital — a so-called ‘hub’ — in Broadford and a smaller ‘spoke’ facility in Portree on Tuesday of this week.
A statement issued by NHS Highland maintained that: “While Broadford and Portree emerged as the preferred hub and spoke locations respectively, no decisions were taken on the actual sites. Further work will now take place to assess the feasibility of a number of sites and to ensure that all potential sites have been identified. However, NHS Highland owns land adjacent to the new health centre in Broadford and this will be investigated in the first instance.
“The preferred locations having been chosen, a recommendation will now be made to the April meeting of the NHS Highland board to pave the way for a formal, three-month consultation on the full service model and possible site locations. When that is complete a final recommendation will be made to the board and then to Scottish Government ministers.”
The Broadford hub would be the main site and would accommodate a wide range of services, such as the Scottish Ambulance Service, social care and community health, and would also have in-patient facilities, the main diagnostic facilities such as X-ray and endoscopy, a procedure room for minor operations, endoscopy, out-patient chemotherapy and infusion service, and the main visiting out-patient services such as orthopaedic, surgical, chest and ENT.
The Portree facility would accommodate out-patient services, a primary care emergency centre, a minor injury unit and a base for NHS Highland’s community team for the north of the area. However, it would not have in-patient beds.
Tracy Ligema, NHS Highland’s area manager, said after Tuesday’s meeting that the steering group’s recommendation on preferred locations was a significant step in the redesign process, but stressed that much still had to be done.
She added: “We are in the middle of a lengthy process and much has to be done, including identifying sites and holding a full public consultation. Full details of that consultation will be issued as soon as they have been approved.”
Local MSP David Thompson said: “This has been developed in a consensual way and I note the initial proposed location of Broadford for the enhanced hospital hub. I am also pleased at the extensive out-patient and emergency services that are proposed for the proposed Portree spoke and look forward to the public response to these proposals.”