Kidney Dialysis Treatment in Skye

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP Rhoda Grant was concerned to learn that five patients travel from Skye to Raigmore Hospital three times a week for kidney dialysis treatment.

When a patient’s kidneys fail, dialysis treatment keeps the body in balance by removing waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body.

The MSP communicated with the Elaine Mead, Chief Executive of NHS Highland to ask if they had considered installing one dialysis machine into Broadford Hospital for the use of locally based patients. In the response Rhoda Grant was advised that up until two years ago nobody was requiring haemodialysis in the area. They concluded that they were trying to find a local solution to respond to the current need.

Rhoda Grant said: “Patients traveling from Skye three times a week to Raigmore Hospital for treatment is not acceptable in this day and age. This is a particularly long journey to make and also expensive for those having to travel and NHS Highland with regard to expenses. I understand that this is a challenging situation for NHS Highland to address given the fluctuations in demand for such services in the Isle of Skye, but I would have thought having a dialysis machine located in Boardford Hospital would be the answer.”

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP Rhoda Grant was concerned to learn that five patients travel from Skye to Raigmore Hospital three times a week for kidney dialysis treatment.

When a patient’s kidneys fail, dialysis treatment keeps the body in balance by removing waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body.

The MSP communicated with the Elaine Mead, Chief Executive of NHS Highland to ask if they had considered installing one dialysis machine into Broadford Hospital for the use of locally based patients. In the response Rhoda Grant was advised that up until two years ago nobody was requiring haemodialysis in the area. They concluded that they were trying to find a local solution to respond to the current need.

Rhoda Grant said: “Patients traveling from Skye three times a week to Raigmore Hospital for treatment is not acceptable in this day and age. This is a particularly long journey to make and also expensive for those having to travel and NHS Highland with regard to expenses. I understand that this is a challenging situation for NHS Highland to address given the fluctuations in demand for such services in the Isle of Skye, but I would have thought having a dialysis machine located in Boardford Hospital would be the answer.”

Tobie site

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP, Rhoda Grant who launched an anti-bullying signpost to support and services web site back in 2014 has intimated that the time is right to remind folk of the presence of the site with all the unfortunate rise in high profile cases recently.

Rhoda said “Bullying in all its forms is totally unacceptable and my Tobie site (http://www.tobie.org.uk/) was set up to help those affected by this anti-social behaviour primarily in the workplace and to help them get support by signposting them to services,”

She added: “Within the first year (2014) we had nearly 10,000 hits on our site, which just shows the size of the problem. Since 2014 another 5,548 visitors have looked at this site which is not marketed or promoted other than through my own social media sites.

“The individual who suffers at the hands of bullies is scarred for a very long time if not for life. Sadly, this can happen at any time in a person’s life, from childhood to old age.

“Such behaviour causes mental health issues to the innocent sufferer who is subject to bouts of anxiety, depression, stress, associated illnesses and ultimately absence from school, college or work.

“Employers have a key role to play in trying to stamp out this anti-social and unacceptable behaviour and as a stepping stone in the right direction, every employer and every school or college should make sure they have an anti-bullying policy which all staff are aware of.

“ I would like to think that any acts of bullying within the workplace or elsewhere, like at school or college, will be viewed seriously and where there is evidence, the perpetrator will be subject to disciplinary process”.

“Of course it is hard to get people to talk about bullying, but I would plead with anyone who is subjected to this form of cowardly behaviour to speak to someone about it in the first place, whether that be a colleague or a Line Manager or even a parent or guardian.

“I am hopeful that my site will continue to enable sufferers to seek that right advice and guidance, point them in the right direction and hopefully see the individual being in a position to deal with the bully and break away from this unwanted and despicable behaviour. The message is clearly “you are not alone” but together we can tackle this behaviour”.

Cost of private renting soars in Highlands and Islands

The cost of private rented housing in the Highlands and Islands has soared, official statistics show.

People across Scotland are being hammered with average mean monthly rents increasing substantially over the last year in many parts of the country.

Recent figures released by the Scottish Government show huge increases across the country, including in the Highlands and Islands, over the past eight years.

• One bedroom properties in Highlands and Islands increased by 13.4% from 2010 to 2018
• Two bedroom properties by 15.8%, a 1.3% rise in 2017/2018
• Three bedroom properties by 19.3%, 2.5% rise in 2017/2018
• Four bedroom properties by 17.5%, a 6.5% rise in 2017/18

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said it was clear that a radical change was needed to end Scotland’s housing crisis.

“I know that working people across the region are struggling to keep up with the rise in private rents and Scotland’s housing crisis is deepening with more people being made homeless,” she said.

“Almost half of all people made homeless last year due to rent arrears fell into debt with a private landlord.

“A Scottish Labour government will cap rent rises with a Mary Barbour law. We will also increase the supply of new homes by building 12,000 new homes for social-rent every year.”

Kishorn Yard waits for arrival of Ocean Great White Rig

Highlands & Islands MSP, Rhoda Grant, welcomes the news that the Ocean Great White rig,  en-route from Singapore to the Kishorn Yard in Wester Ross is the start of a new engagement between the yard and the oil and gas sector. The yard which has been dormant for a while was last in use in the 1990s when the support structures for the Skye Bridge were built there. In 1978 the Kishorn Yard was utilised in the construction of the largest moveable man made structure in the world when the Ninian Central platform was build. At that time up to 4000 people were employed on the site.

 

Rhoda said ” This is excellent news and I hope this first major contract will herald a new beginning for the Kishorn Port which was a company formed in 2008 by Ferguson Transport and Leith’s Scotland. As well as the building of the iconic Ninian Central, other smaller projects were undertaken, but this is the first major contract for 40 years. If the senior Management at Kishorn Port can attract contracts such as this ,then there is a real possibility that the local economy around the scattered communities of Wester Ross will prosper again with new found jobs, which in turn attract more workers and then more money is spent in the area locally.

 

” This is positive news and further supports my plea some months ago for the upgrade of the road that extends between Achnasheen and Kishorn (A890/A896). If we are to promote the availability of this location as a future specialist refurbishment yard for the oil and gas sector we have to do something about the infrastructure, starting with the roads.

 

The rig is being made ready for a drilling programme early next year West of Shetland.

 

 

 

 

Western Isles Ferries

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP, Rhoda Grant asked The Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, Mike Russell MSP, during the Brexit statement in the Scottish Parliament yesterday, (18th December) what plans they had for opening up new freight routes to the continent for Scottish produce in the event of a No Deal Brexit. She went on to ask which Ports and routes are the Scottish Government looking at as alternatives to Dover and  what boats are they hoping to procure given they cannot find boats to fulfil their own routes and services?

 

The Cabinet Secretary advised that the Government would have no trouble finding boats as they were different to the ones required for the Western Isles and easily found.

 

Rhoda Grant said “ This is rather ironic. The boat we asked for to cover the Western Isles route from Ullapool to Stornoway was a freight ferry which would in turn free up the Loch Seaforth as a passenger ferry.

 

“It would appear when there is a need for a freight vessel to be found to provide lifeline services to the Western Isles, a ferry cannot be found. However, when we require to move freight to the continent from Scotland, that’s no bother and a number can easily be found. This just shows the level of regard the Scottish Government have for the needs of the economy in the Western Isles.

 

Rhoda Grant concluded “While they are right to make contingencies for a No Deal Brexit and getting our produce to Europe, I would expect them to have the same regard for our fragile island communities who need reliable and accessible lifeline services.

 

 

Fireworks and Pets

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP, Rhoda Grant, who launched an educational leaflet earlier this autumn has reminded constituents that Fireworks are not just an issue around 5th November:

Rhoda said ” back at the end of October I teamed up with the SSPCA to launch an educational leaflet about fireworks and the dangers they pose to the vulnerable people, pets and wild animals. While bonfire night is over I am sure that many people still have fireworks.  Can I make a plea that people be considerate when setting them off.  This year we heard of a pony was absolutely shattered after being distressed all night, Another pet dog took a heart attack with the fright and yet another dog bolted when he heard a loud bang and he ran into the path of an oncoming car and was killed. This problem will recur as we get closer to the festive season, therefore think before you set them off and take steps to protect vulnerable people and pets. That said, I don’t want to dampen anyone’s party celebrations, I just want them to think before setting off fireworks. I do hope that constituents will have a Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year

HIAL Air Traffic Control

At General Questions yesterday (6/12/18) in the Scottish Parliament, Highlands & Islands Regional MSP Rhoda Grant questioned the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson, in relation to the centralisation programme being proposed for Air Traffic Control.

 

Rhoda Said “ I asked the Cabinet Secretary if the proposal to centralise Air Traffic Control  was island proofed, if an impact assessment had been carried out and if he would reverse this decision, which was to base the HIAL Central Air Traffic Control System in Inverness. I advised that if the Inverness Air Traffic Control system could service Benbecula for example, then surely if the system was place in Benbecula it could quite easily service Inverness.

 

“ I advised the Cabinet Secretary that centralising the Air Traffic Control system in Inverness would not only be bad for the economy of other parts of the Highlands & islands, but it would be bad also for staff and workers. I suggested the funding being set aside for the centralisation of Air Traffic Control could be better spent on the resilience of HIAL airports.

 

Rhoda Grant concluded “The Cabinet Secretary advised that HIAL have to meet stringent Air Traffic Control regulations and in doing so would have to invest in the right technology and make sure their system was safe above all. However, he seems to have missed my point which was if they decide that having the one central Air Traffic Control base within the HIAL network, then why does it have to be based in Inverness. If this is going to be a state of the art system with the latest technology utilised, then this centralised system could be based in Benbecula or Stornoway or any of the island communities which are in greater need of jobs and the retention of skills.  Even better still that all airports in the network retain their own staff but use the remote access to provide cover when necessary.