NHS Highland backs Skye community hospital plan

The Health Secretary will now be asked to make a final decision. Picture: John Devlin

The Health Secretary will now be asked to make a final decision. Picture: John Devlin

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NHS HIGHLAND has backed plans to build Skye’s new community hospital in Broadford.

The site will also be used by the Scottish Ambulance Service and provide a base for community health and social care workers.

Under the proposals, Portree Hospital would also be upgraded.

The issue has caused some controversy, with many in Portree believing the new hub base should be sited there.

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But NHS Highland has decided it would act as a smaller “spoke” hospital to Broadford.

The final recommendation will now go to the Scottish government for approval.

NHS Highland said the new hospital in Broadford would have X-ray and endoscopy facilities, and be able to carry out minor operations.

It would also have inpatient beds and offer outpatient chemotherapy, orthopaedic and chest services.

The health board said Portree would not have inpatient beds, but would offer outpatient services.

At a meeting in Inverness, the board backed a proposal tabled by Gill McVicar, Director of Operations for NHS Highland’s north and west operational unit, and Maimie Thompson, Head of Public Relations and Engagement, for the redesign of services in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.

The paper included a detailed report on the three-month public consultation on the redesign proposals which showed that 2,273 people completed a survey as part of the consultation, with two-to-one in favour of Broadford as the location for a new ‘hub’ facility.

Fifty-seven per cent were in favour of the hub being in Broadford and the spoke in Portree, whereas 29 per cent supported Portree as the location for the hub.

The Health Secretary will now be asked to make a final decision.

A ‘business case’ process would then have to be followed, and an ‘initial document’ would need to be prepared and submitted to the Scottish Government’s Capital Investment Group.

Garry Coutts, Chair of NHS Highland, described today’s decision as “historic” and said detailed planning for the new facilities would now get under way.

He said: “We have reached a crucial stage in the redesign of services in the area. Our public engagement and consultation has been both lengthy and thorough, and we are satisfied that we have reached a decision that best reflects the needs and aspirations of the entire community. I am delighted to recommend it to the Cabinet Secretary.

He added: “Understandably, there has been some controversy around this issue. People have approached it from various perspectives, and our job has been to try to arrive at a consensus view on how best to reshape our services.

“We have done so with the interests of the entire community at heart and would ask everyone in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross to pull together behind this decision.

“With their continuing help, I am confident that we will provide first-class healthcare and social care facilities and services that are fit for the 21st century.”

Mr Coutts expressed his gratitude to everyone who had taken part in the consultation process.

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