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Chance to see proposed NHS changes

By SPP Reporter

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Changes to services
Changes to services

A number of possible options for changes to health services in West Caithness - which may affect Sutherland patients - are currently being re-evaluated.

This includes changes to some services which are delivered on the Dunbar Hospital site, as well services provided in the community.

NHS Highland is holding an open drop-in event on the West Caithness re-design of health services at the Pentland Hotel in Thurso, on Tuesday, December 6, between 4pm and 7pm.

The open meeting will provide a further opportunity to consider the existing options proposed and identify if there any additional options. A process will be in place to evaluate feedback on each of the options.

All of the work on evaluating options will be fed into an extraordinary meeting of the North Highland Community Health Partnership (CHP) Governance Committee. This has been arranged specifically to discuss the West Caithness redesign proposals. It will be held on Tuesday, December 20, at 2pm.

While many of the proposed changes have broad support from local people, some are currently considered more controversial. There has been considerable concern expressed by some people about the option to close 12 inpatient beds and in particular the provision of local palliative care.

In light of this, the North Highland CHP Committee asked for some further detailed work around five key issues:

• Reconsider palliative and end of life care to provide inpatient access in Thurso

• Greater clarity around the use of the Dunbar site

• Assess impact of proposed changes on the Scottish Ambulance Service

• An analysis of the socio-economic impact, including transport

• The impact of the redesign on staff

Pauline Craw, Locality General Manager for Caithness, said: “Having now completed this further bit of work, we want to provide a further opportunity for local people and staff to feedback on all the options identified so far. Making decisions about future health services is really important and we want to get it right, not just for next year but to really set us up for the future.

“We want to go back to the Committee on December 20 with an update on people’s current views and a further evaluation of options. It is vital we continue to have an ongoing dialogue so that together we come up with the best overall model of care for people of West Caithness.”

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