Petition over north Skye health provision to be presented

PORTREE HOSPITAL - 1The campaign to retain health services in north Skye is heading for Holyrood, as members of campaign group SOS NHS Skye seek a meeting with Shona Robison, the Cabinet Secretary for Health.

The group have urged her to order an independent review of NHS Highland’s redesign of health services in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.

Ms Robison will be presented with a petition in support of an independent review that has almost 5,000 signatures.

Sarah Marshall

Sarah Marshall of the SOS Portree campaign group said that an independent review would “ensure that the services that our communities needs are protected from NHS Highland’s desperate attempts at cost-cutting”

“That’s more than twice the number of people who responded to NHS Highland’s public consultation exercise,” said Sarah Marshall, chair of the campaign group. “It’s equivalent to more than 65 per cent of the resident population of north Skye telling us that they have no confidence in NHS Highland’s plans.”

Key concerns of the campaign are the proposed closure of Portree Hospital and the ongoing withdrawal of out-of-hours accident and emergency over in the north of the island.

“But it’s much more than that,” said Ms Marshall. “These are the obvious things but what else have they got wrong? An independent review, led by healthcare experts, will ensure that the services that our communities needs are protected from NHS Highland’s desperate attempts at cost-cutting.”

The trip to Holyrood is a final attempt by SOS NHS Skye to get the Cabinet Secretary to change her mind and order the independent review. The group have asked Ms Robison’s office for a suitable date but so far no reply has been received.

“Otherwise we’re left with no option but a judicial review,” said Ms Marshall. “We have evidence that shows NHS Highland’s design process is deeply flawed and that the public consultation was nothing more than a PR exercise to justify a decision that had already been taken. We’re confident that the Court of Session will find in our favour, but it would save everyone concerned a lot of hassle if Shona Robison bit the bullet and ordered the independent review right now.”