21 Feb 2012

Last Night's Public Meeting

At last night's public meeting attended by people from all over West Ardnamurchan, the contents of the letter from NHS Highland and the Scottish Ambulance Service were unanimously rejected. Speaker after speaker expressed scepticism at the vague promises it contained. It was felt that the community needed a clear explanation of how the many different jobs our District Nurses did until Sunday would be covered. For example, the statement that the new West Lochaber Nurses would do some of the practice nurse work needed fleshing out, a mock rota of the 999 cover should be drawn up, and clear explanations given of how NHS24-type work would be covered.

The meeting insisted that representatives at the meetings with the SAS today and with Ms Sturgeon tomorrow emphasise that the sudden appointment of an ambulance technician be rejected: the process of appointment was improper, the community was not consulted, the employment terms - retained, on a 5-day week, with 3 or 4 days a month in the Fort - meant that he would spend little time in our area, and the skills levels were inadequate.

The meeting also expressed its worry and anger that the community has been left with no local emergency cover. A 999 call would bring a doctor along the peninsula in 50 minutes - if he is available - and the Strontian ambulance, which would take an hour. This appalling situation would be raised with the SAS at today's meeting.

Community Councillors Rosie Curtis, Jac Crosbie, Davie Ferguson and Jessie Colquhoun meet with NHS and SAS Chairs and Chief Executives today at 1pm in Fort William, and with Nicola Sturgeon at 5.15pm tomorrow in Holyrood.

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