ALARMED Staffin residents are among the 1,500 people who have signed a petition demanding that a controversial move to remove beds at Portree Hospital and reduce 24-hour care is reversed.
At the time of writing, the Save Portree Hospital campaign group’s online petition has attracted the signatures of 1,530 people. It was only launched after a public meeting in the Skye Gathering Hall last month which attracted 300 people.
The campaign group has warned that a “mistake” was made by NHS Highland when it decided in December to push forward with plans for a new hospital in Broadford which will see Portree Hospital lose its beds.
The decision is particularly worrying for Staffin and people living in the north end, given the distance to Broadford in the case of emergencies. There is also concern in the Taobh Sear about the logistics for families facing a two-hour round trip to Broadford to visit loved ones when they are patients.
The petition states: “Portree Hospital must not close. 24 Hour Emergency care must be fully restored and all beds retained. A mistake has been made by NHS Highland and ratified by the current Health Minister. Portree is the regional centre and where our children are educated and the elderly cared for. It is the service and tourist centre and must not be left without beds or 24 hour emergency care. All clinical evidence points towards an increase in preventable deaths if the current course is pursued.
Furthermore, millions of pounds will be removed from the economy of North Skye and the viability of many communities will be threatened. Evidence shows that when health care is removed rural areas depopulate. Schools will close. This decision will leave thousands of residents and many more thousands of visitors more than 1 hour away from emergency care. The tourist industry will suffer.
NHS Highland has made decisions without having evidence to support them. We call upon Health Secretary Shona Robison to establish an Independent Scrutiny Panel to review these decisions on behalf of the people of Skye. We also call on all our elected representatives to join us in this important campaign.”
Although health is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, the campaign group has welcomed a call from Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Ross, Skye and Lochaber consisuency in the upcoming General Election, for an independent review into healthcare services on Skye. Labour’s Chris Conniff, the Green candidate Anne Thomas and Conservative Lindsay McCallum have backed the call.
To sign the petition click on the link https://www.change.org/p/the-scottish-government-save-portree-hospital-2?recruiter=270308096&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-custom_msg