Lewis Ritchie will visit Skye tomorrow (Tuesday 28th May) to assess the progress of the recommendations set out in his out of hours healthcare report for Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.
Sir Lewis’ visit will also mark the one-year anniversary of the report’s publication.
A public meeting will be held at Portree High School at 6.30 pm on Tuesday which will provide the community with an opportunity to find out the latest healthcare developments concerning Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross and meet the people involved in implementing the recommendations. This will include community representatives and members of NHS Highland, NHS 24, the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS Near Me.
Leading up to the evening event, Sir Lewis will undertake meetings with community members and healthcare professional to assess the current state of progress on out of hours care, community beds, and infrastructure protocols.
Reflecting on the progress made since the publication of the report in May 2018, SOS-NHS Skye Chairperson Catriona MacDonald told the Free Press: “It’s hard to believe a year has passed since Sir Lewis Ritchie published his very welcome recommendations and we look forward to seeing him again next week to report on progress.
“He wasn’t too impressed with the rate of progress at the six-month stage last December – neither were we- but there has been an improvement in the last few months especially since the new senior management arrived at NHS Highland.
She added: “The four key community priorities at this stage are to see the Portree Urgent Care Centre operational 24/7; all 12 beds open again in Portree Hospital; the resident nurse back on Raasay, and for Glenelg & Arnisdale to have 24/7 out of hours care locally again.
“I now have confidence that all of these will happen, with the enhanced Portree Hospital services due to be in place within the next few weeks once new staff and beds are in place. It can’t come soon enough since these are core services our community needs to be viable.”
Sir Lewis’ trip to Skye comes hot on the heels of a visit by the Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeane Freeman who met with community members, local councillors, representatives from NHS Highland, and healthcare professionals during engagements held on Monday in Portree, Broadford, and Kyle.
For more coverage and reaction to the visits of the health secretary and Sir Lewis Ritchie, pick up a copy this week Free Press – available at your local shop from Thursday.
Article by Adam Gordon