ROSS SLAMS NHS COMMUNICATION
Gail Ross, MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross has written to Paul Gray, Chief Executive of NHS Scotland to ask about NHS Highland’s communication strategy. Ross has also written directly to NHS Highland to ask when the public meetings will take place that were promised last November as part of the reconfiguration of the maternity unit, what plans are in place for the minor injuries units in the constituency and to get clarity on out of hours GP services, amongst other things.
Ms Ross said “I am getting increasingly frustrated with NHS Highland’s complete lack of communication with the public about health services in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross. The staff are brilliant but they are being hampered by constant negativity that the management in NHS Highland are doing nothing to counter. When the reconfiguration of the maternity unit was decided on by the health board, it was agreed that a series of public meetings would take place to explain why the decision was reached. Yes, mothers to be are informed, yes, there is a liaison group but the fears in the wider community are not being addressed. I have been speaking to people about it when I can but I am only one person and it’s the responsibility of the health board to make sure people are informed.
I wrote to NHSH in January to ask what community groups, voluntary organisations and private businesses they had spoken to but there was little feedback. In the end I had to write to Paul Gray from NHS Scotland to see if he could encourage more communication.
I want to see the NHS Highland communication strategy, I want to see their plans for the future of health services in Caithness, Caithness General Hospital, the Dunbar, the Town and Country, care at home, GP’s and out of hours care. How are they handling health and social care integration, what are the current vacancies and how and where are they being advertised.
The reasons for the configuration of the maternity unit have not been made clear on a wide enough scale. This is solely a safety issue. The board and the management need to get this message out or they will lose the trust of this community completely and it will be very difficult to regain it.
Steps must be taken immediately to engage with the public.