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Highland MSP tells First Minister ‘let’s get the ball rolling on developing plans to replace Raigmore'

By Scott Maclennan

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Edward Mountain and his Replace Raigmore Hospital campaign.
Edward Mountain and his Replace Raigmore Hospital campaign.

MSP Edward Mountain has written directly to the First Minister Humza Yousaf and health secretary Michael Matheson requesting NHS Highland gets the support it needs to develop a range of plans to replace Raigmore.

He sent the letter before confirmation of the Scottish Government infrastructure plans for new hospitals in 2025 as NHS Highland, the health secretary and the First Minister all acknowledged Raigmore Hospital is not fit for the future.

Mr Mountain is pressing for the work on planning proposals to begin now to ensure a brand new facility is ahead of the queue for funding from the 2026-2031 capital infrastructure programme.

The Conservative MSP believes that “momentum is clearly growing for a brand new acute general teaching hospital to replace Raigmore.

“However, we cannot afford to let this early progress drift. While I welcome the words of acknowledgement from the Scottish Government and NHS Highland that the current Raigmore Hospital is not fit for the future, it is action that counts.

“If the Highlands is to stand the best chance of receiving capital funding for a new hospital two years from now, then developing plans for the replacement facility must begin as urgently as possible.

“That’s why I have written to the First Minister and I would urge him to make available the necessary support NHS Highland needs to put together proposals for this project.

“I am determined not to let this issue slip from the Scottish Government’s radar – we cannot have a repeat of the delays we’ve seen to other crucial infrastructure projects in the Highlands which have impacted the A9 dualling programme, rural broadband or the delivery of HMP Highland.

“We need to see that the Scottish Government and NHS Highland are truly committed to delivering a replacement hospital.”

Letter to the First Minister

Addressing the First Minister, Mr Mountain MSP wrote: “As you will be aware, I continue to campaign for a brand new acute general teaching hospital in the Highlands to replace the Raigmore facility.

“Since launching this campaign in March 2023, I am pleased to report the following successful progress:

500+ signatures for a petition to replace Raigmore with a brand new acute general teaching hospital;

An acknowledgement from NHS Highland that the Raigmore facility is not sustainable for the longer term;

A recognition from the Cabinet Secretary for Health that Raigmore will require ‘significant investment’;

And an acceptance from yourself that significant investment in the Raigmore facility would either entail a full refurbishment or replacement.

“As both the Scottish Government and NHS Highland clearly agree that the current Raigmore facility will not be fit for the future, and with public support for a new solution growing, I believe that now is the time for work to begin on drawing up proposals for a redesign.

“Indeed, if NHS Highland is to have the best chance of being considered a top priority for the Scottish Government’s round of capital infrastructure investment for 2026-2031, then preparing proposals for Raigmore’s replacement should begin as soon as possible.

“With that in mind, I would be very grateful if you could confirm what actions the Scottish Government has taken during your tenure as Cabinet Secretary for Health and is now taking under your successor’s tenure to work closely with NHS Highland on identifying the best way forward with regards to this specific project?”

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