Caithness Civic Leader, Councillor Gail Ross, has today called on Wick community Council to call a special meeting with NHS Highland bosses after poor weather meant the cancellation of the Chief Executive, Elaine Mead’s trip north. Ms Mead had been due to answer questions at the community council meeting last night but called yesterday afternoon because of the warning about Storm Henry.
Cllr Ross said:
"This is not all about pregnant mothers travelling to Raigmore, although I hope that will cease very soon. I understand completely why the NHS are requiring complicated births to go to Raigmore at the moment. I have said in the past that I am fully supportive of this decision because of the ongoing investigation that is currently underway. I hope a conclusion will be reached very shortly so we can start to implement whatever recommendations that are put forward for the safety of both mothers and babies.”
"The reason I see an irony in Ms Mead’s unwillingness to travel is down to the huge amount of other services that are being centralised in Inverness. Routine blood tests for children, treadmill tests, ENT appointments, dermatology and chiropractor services are just some of the things I’ve had feedback on recently. People are getting fed up with seeing a perfectly good hospital on their doorstep which is not being fully utilised.
"We were assured last year that moves were underway to make more use of the second theatre in Caithness General and that we would see more specialised services come to Caithness as part of a ‘Centre of Excellence’ plan. So far, I’ve yet to get feedback that this is happening.
“Once the investigation into the maternity unit is complete and we see what we are dealing with, I would like the NHS to participate in a public meeting so that people can ask questions and have their say, because there are a lot of rumours flying around Caithness at the moment that need to be addressed and addressed honestly. These people are paying for a service and expect the NHS to deliver it."