Protest march to save Portree Hospital

MORE than 4,000 people – many from Staffin and the Trotternish peninusla – have signed a petition demanding that Portree Hospital is saved from closure, as plans for a protest march have been announced.

The Save Portree Hospital campaign group has confirmed a march will be held in Portree on Saturday, June 20. The group and supporters will walk from Somerled Square to the hospital demanding the reinstatement of out-of-hours doctors and a full Independent Review of the health service in the area.

The march will start at 5pm with the Isle of Skye Pipe Band, followed by a group of campaigners who will deliver a letter by hand to the hospital. The campaign group has said the letter “will give heartfelt thanks to the frontline staff and explain the serious concerns of the people in north Skye given the proposed removal of services – including A&E”. There will then be speeches, a barbecue hosted by the RNLI and more from the pipe band.

It comes as the number of signatures on an online petition demanding that NHS Highland retain A&E services and beds at the hospital has soared. The campaign group has warned that a “mistake” was made by NHS Highland when it decided in December last year to push forward with plans for a new hospital in Broadford which will see Portree Hospital lose its beds.

A protest march to save Portree Hospital.

A protest march to save Portree Hospital.

The decision is particularly worrying for Staffin and people living in the north end, given the distance to Broadford in the case of emergencies and there is also concern about the logistics for families facing a two-hour round trip to visit loved ones when they are patients.

One unnamed Stafin woman, who has signed the petition, has outlined the hospital’s importance to her family. “AM” of Staffin, wrote: “We live far enough away from any medical services. I have had reason to made urgent use of Portree Hospital once with a baby born three months early and for the birth of two other children. Have also had to get my husband to hospital urgently when he had a virus causing convulsions and couldn’t have waited for ambulance as none available. We also have had guests needing to be seen for various reasons. Our daughter has been taken to Portree Hospital on more than one occasion due to seizures which were needing medical attention.”

To sign the petition click on the link