The main comments I have are as follows -
1. An Ambulance Technician who has "indicated a strong interest in Paramedic training" is a step forward, but far more appropriate would be a new invention, recently launched by Nicola Sturgeon at the cost of £5 million, called a Community Paramedic. Further, I want the post defined, a detailed job description, and a proper appointment process open to wide competition so we can get the best. I do not want the 'quick fix' Technician mentioned in the letter, who applied to be an Emergency Responder and is being appointed against no competition.
2. The new nurse, Avril, has 'indicated her interest' in living on West Ardnamurchan and being an Emergency Responder. If she is genuinely willing, then her job description should be changed so she has to be resident in West Ardnamurchan, and has to be an emergency responder - which is what WACC wanted from the start.
3. Given a Community Paramedic and two nurses committed to, and forming the core of the Emergency Responder team, I am very happy to see other Emergency Responders recruited to give them support and to deal with emergencies if the 'professionals' are all unavailable.
4. In the section "Core Nursing Services", I welcome the statement that the Kilchoan nurses will deal with local matters before moving off down the peninsula. Even more, I welcome the statement that "the nurses will also continue to provide a Practice Nursing service on behalf of the Acharacle Medical Practice". However, these statements need fleshing out - and could have been if NHSH and the SAS has reacted quickly to WACC's offer to come into Fort William to meet them and discuss these proposals. Instead they have sent the letter out, which has, if anything put the process back by several days.
5. There's nothing clear in the letter about how the nursing service is going to deal with NHS24 calls. The appointment of a Community Paramedic who would pick these up, in the same way as Carolyn and Jessie now do, would solve the problem and, perhaps, persuade the doctors not to opt out of their current 'on-call' service.
6. The worst part of the letter is its failure to do what Graham Crerar so eloquently asked for in the public meeting last Tuesday evening - that they should define the posts that will be filled rather than talk about individuals. That way, we would know the staffing complement for West Ardnamurchan and, if an individual did not want to participate, the tasks which NHSH and the SAS would be obliged to cover.
I am going to respond to their letter, as requested. I understand WACC is trying to find a way of getting a rapid community response back to them. But time is short, both for them and us. Jessie retires in under a week. WACC is seeing the Chief Executives and Chairs of NHSH and the SAS in the Fort a week today. The following day, the 22nd, WACC will be talking directly to Nicola Sturgeon.