NHS Highland are to examine the possibility of keeping some kind of bed provision in Portree Hospital as part of their redesign of local health services.
At Monday’s Highland Council ward forum meeting in Portree, the health authority’s head of public relations and engagement, Maimie Thompson, said in giving her agreement to fund a new hospital in Broadford, health secretary Shona Robison set two conditions. They were that there should be “no changes to services until alternatives are identified” and that there should be “some sort of bed provision in the north of the island”. Ms Thompson said this could take the form of “step-down or palliative” beds.
In advance of the submission of an outline business case, NHS Highland will now work on design statements and clinical brief for the “hub” and “spoke” model. Councillor Drew Millar asked if there would be an opportunity for public involvement in this stage of the process and Ms Thompson said there would be.
During the meeting, Peter Martin of Uig Community Council urged Ms Thompson to state that they were closing Portree Hospital. Ms Thompson denied that this was the case.
“We are closing the in-patient beds — that is a key change and we have never hidden that,” she added. “But we are looking at having palliative or other types of beds there so I suppose it depends how you define a hospital.”
NHS Highland’s development group are due to meet on 19th March to finalise the Broadford site selection process for the ‘hub’ hospital. The health board will decide between August and October on the submission to the Scottish Government of the outline business case.