Comment on Raasay nurse campaign

 rhodaraasay.jpg

Rhoda Grant is concerned that out-of-hours health care on Raasay is increasingly being handed over to the community, leaving residents, who are not medical experts, making difficult decisions.

Mrs Grant visited the island in January and is supporting the community’s plea to have a nurse there 24/7.

Following her visit, Mrs Grant has now received a reply from NHS Highland’s Chief Executive, Elaine Mead, to questions raised by Raasay residents.

“There are a number of confusing and perplexing answers. For instance, the community nurse should deal only with people aged 16 and over due to training and registration, although that is countered by NHS Highland saying that the “nurse always sees” children but may need to refer them for treatment to the GP or hospital,” said Mrs Grant.

“Then, when it comes to medical incidents out-of-hours, first aiders and community first responders are being named as providing additional support.

"The health authority is now saying that first responders could be trained to a higher level but I know some on the island are concerned about this due to the difficult decisions that may need to be made when someone falls ill.

“The island is developing economically and socially, witnessed by the fact that a new distillery is being built.

"The presence of a nurse, in the evenings and at weekends, would provide reassurance and security both for residents and visitors, especially in the absence of an easily accessible GP.

"Raasay is in a very vulnerable situation and I am anxious that the health care needs of islanders are not being met.”

Mrs Grant is also disappointed that the health authority appears unwilling to advertise the 24/7 nursing post again.

NHS Highland says that it was done in the past and failed to find a suitable candidate.

She is continuing to suggest nurse practitioners, who could fill the roles of a community and practice nurse as well as those of a paramedic, could lead the way in delivering rural health care.

Mrs Grant is still waiting for a reply from Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, who has already visited the island and offered to take up the issue after being briefed on the case, plus Fergus Ewing, in his role as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity and on the issue of sustaining and developing Raasay, as well as the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robison.