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Petition launched to replace Shetland hospital with facility ‘fit for 21st centruy’

Shetland residents are being asked to consider signing a petition to get a new hospital “fit for the 21st century”.

The Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick opened in 1961 and has had several extensions and re-configurations.

But in the last half-century the hospital has outgrown its space and 1950s design.

A report on the hospital’s functionality, condition and layout, in 2019 said that “the constrained site provides little opportunity for expansion and little or no variation to the layout possible in an attempt to come close to achieving the modern hospital requirements of today”.

Now, Scottish Liberal Democrat and Shetland MSP, Beatrice Wishart has launched an online petition for a new hospital to be built.

‘Keenly aware’ of need for a new facility

Ms Wishart has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health asking “when Shetland will have a new-build hospital fit for the 21st century”.

The Scottish Government has since responded to Ms Wishart, and said they were “keenly aware of the need for an upgraded facility” to replace the current one.

Alan Morrison, interim Deputy Director for Health Infrastructure, said NHS Shetland is currently in the latter stages of the development of a Strategic Assessment after identifying a need for change.

The Strategic Assessment will inform the impact on existing assets and any requirement for refurbishment, expansion or new build.

Michael Dickson Chief Executive NHS Shetland<br />Handout from NHS Shetland

From there the NHS Shetland Clinical Strategy and Strategic Assessment Programme Board will consider the findings at their next meeting in November of this year, followed by submission for approval by the NHS Shetland Board.

Michael Dickson, NHS Shetland chief executive, said: “NHS Shetland has been progressing its work to build a strategic case in support of replacing the Gilbert Bain Hospital with a health and care campus that is fit for the future and this is regularly reported via our board meetings.”

‘Shetland deserving of a modern hospital’

Ms Wishart highlighted the 1950s design, little opportunity to achieve the modern hospital requirements of today and future-proofing island requirements.

Now, Shetland residents are being asked to sign the petition to show the Scottish Government the need for a new hospital.

On the launch of the petition, Ms Wishart said: “Shetland deserves a new-build hospital fit for the 21st century.

Gilbert Bain Hospital.<br />Picture by Jim Irvine

“Let’s get plans off the drawing board and turned into bricks and mortar.

“NHS Shetland’s staff and wider teams have done a fantastic job throughout the pandemic and before.

“I believe they deserve a modern hospital environment to complement the service they provide to patients.”

Previously, residents of the island have had to raise funds for CAT and MRI scanners.

To view the petition visit Ms Wishart’s website here.

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