I am seeking an urgent meeting with NHS Highland after sending the following letter last week -
Minor Injuries Units within Caithness, Sutherland and Ross
I refer to the above, with particular reference to my FoI request of the 9th of March 2017 and the recent problems whereby several minor injuries units have had to close due to lack of available appropriate staffing.
I have had several in-depth conversations over the last few months in relation to the redesign of the care model and the shift of the balance of care from acute care to community care, not only with NHS Highland, but also with Paul Gray, NHS Scotland. I feel that plans need to be properly be explained and consulted upon to ensure that the general public are informed and feel part of the design and decision making process.
Since the reconfiguration plans for the maternity unit in Caithness General were first outlined, NHS Highland have always agreed proposals must be properly explained and staff and the public are consulted on the provision of care. I am most concerned that to date, this has simply not happened. Without full community buy-in to future plans there will always be public opposition to major service changes.
I note that many of my constituents in Caithness have expressed to me their extreme concerns that the Dunbar hospital is to close, or is to lose many beds. Other constituents inform me of their problems in accessing minor injury units and being forced to travel to Raigmore. There are also major concerns over the access to out of hours GP services, which I will write further on at a later stage.
I feel that for months now I have been personally fielding many many criticisms of NHS Highland, which could easily have been dealt with by an appropriate communications strategy. I must note that the personal attacks which have been levelled at me as a result of my stance in support of NHS Highland have been particularly hurtful.
I have been informed, in relation to my freedom of information request of the 9th of March, that the lack of advanced nurse practitioners was responsible for the closure, on close to 60 occasions, of minor injury units in Ross-shire. Could I have clarification on this matter please? I was of the understanding that the post of advanced nurse practitioner is a relatively new position for NHS Highland. Could alternatives be put in place which would reduce the dependency on advanced nurse practitioners?
I write to ask for an urgent investigation and review of your communications policy, with a view to improving this as a matter of urgency. I would also be most grateful if you could outline for me what the future plans are for the service which is provided by the Dunbar Hospital so that I can reassure my constituents.
I also note that I was informed in the past that junior Doctors were to be reinstated in Caithness General during April 2017, I would be very much obliged if you could update me in relation to this.
I look forward to your response.