NHS Highland to be pressed on lack of nursing cover on Raasay

Dave Thompson makes a point during last Thursday's debate in Dornie Hall
Making the case for Raasay nurses is one of Dave Thompson’s final acts as an MSP

Outgoing Skye and Lochalsh MSP David Thompson last weekend met with members of Raasay Community Council, to discuss the ongoing concerns over lack of out-of-hours medical cover on the island.

A range of options were discussed, but Mr Thompson said it was agreed that the best option would be a rota of nurses – up to six – who would share the duty of covering Raasay “24/7”.

It was also agreed there was a need to ensure that 999 calls from Raasay were “red-flagged” so they were treated as a high priority.

Mr Thompson presented this option to NHS Highland this week.

The MSP undertook to contact NHS Highland to press the case that emergency nurse cover on Raasay was essential and that Raasay was a special case. He said lack of cover impacted on evening sporting activity for youngsters, involved in a range of sports, and gave cause for concern because of the number of tourists on the Island, the number of elderly residents and the number of visiting workers progressing projects on the island.

Mr Thompson, who is officially standing down as an MSP this week, said: “I had a productive meeting with members of Raasay Community Council where a range of issues were discussed, including the need to make the case for a rota of nurses, say three to six, who will share the duty of covering Raasay 24/7, which of course will mean being resident on the island overnight.

”It was also highlighted that assurances need to be given in relation to 999 calls from Raasay being red-flagged and treated as a high priority, which would be of some considerable reassurance to folk on Raasay.”

He added: “We need to ensure young people’s activities, tourists and other visitors are not discouraged by the lack of NHS emergency cover. The island community is doing sterling work in regenerating the Raasay economy and this lack of emergency cover is endangering all this good work.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Highland said: “NHS Highland will continue the discussion around appropriate safe care on Raasay with the local community and political representatives. There are difficulties with recruiting nurses and so we hope all concerned will be open to explore all options. Clearly we need to identify a solution that the local community has confidence in and can be sustained.”