Concern has been raised about disabled access at Victoria Hospital, as it is claimed a disabled lift has been out of order for more than a year, breaking down only a month after it was installed.
Hamish Kirk, who requires a walking stick, contacted the Buteman to raise his concerns about access at the hospital’s main entrance, after initially raising the issue with the Rothesay hospital’s reception.
He said: “I’m a regular outpatient at the hospital. I go up to visit the chiropodist to get my feet looked after. I have got an issue with diabetic ulcers. I walk with a stick so the lift would make it easier for me.
“There is an access ramp at the Victoria Hospital. It’s a Victorian building, so the ramp is needed to give access to people using wheelchairs or similar aids.
“About two years ago NHS Highland installed a lift for patients with mobility issues and it worked for about a month.
“And it is still lying there out of order.
“It’s evidence of incompetence on the part of the health board. It just seems absurd that they spent money getting it and installing it, and then just left it when it packed in.”
Hamish questioned decision makers and why NHS Highland runs the hospital.
He said: “The basic issue is what health board should we be in? We are administered from Inverness. It used to be Argyll and Ayrshire Health Board. Now we are with NHS Highland, but Inverness is too far away. Nobody here knows who is in charge at Victoria Hospital really.
“I have spoken to the receptionist at the hospital but that’s all as I wouldn’t know who else to speak to about this issue.
“Every time I visit and reflect on the money spent on this, I believe it could have been better used to employ a porter who could push wheelchairs up and down.
“I am a fan of the NHS, but I worry sometimes about matters like this.”
An NHS Highland spokeswoman said: “Disability access to Victoria Hospital’s main entrance is accessible using the adjacent access ramp. Advance arrangements can also be organised with staff for entrance to the hospital via another accessible entrance.
“The external disabled platform lift has been periodically broken due to inappropriate use. Current investigations are ongoing in order to resolve and prevent additional technical issues.
“Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience caused to hospital visitors and patients.”