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New Caithness health care plans will ‘move away from hospital-based care’

Caithness General Hospital in Wick.
Caithness General Hospital in Wick.

NHS Highland says the redesign of health care in Caithness has reached a “significant milestone” – allowing hospital changes to be progressed.

After years of work, the Scottish Government’s Capital Investment Group (CIG) has approved an initial agreement to fund the health board’s plans.

NHS Highland said it is planning to redesign Caithness’ health and social care services, including hospital provision to better meet the needs of the population it serves.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf says the plan represented a move away from “hospital-based care as a default”.

Ambitious redesign project

He said: “This ambitious redesign project seeks to modernise all health and social care services available in Caithness, with a focus on prevention and working with partners to build resilient communities to move away from hospital-based care as a default.

“In doing so, we hope to enable the people of Caithness to stay at home, healthier, with access to the right care, for longer.

“The approval of the initial agreement is a very important first step in making this happen and I am pleased the next stage of planning can now begin.”

Professor Boyd Robertson, chairman of NHS Highland, said: “I’m pleased that we have reached what is a significant milestone for the redesign project.

Professor Boyd Robertson.

“We can now proceed to the next stage which will involve a more detailed development of the service model, workforce plan, and accommodation brief.

“We can also appoint design teams to develop proposals for the two new community hubs and changes in Caithness General Hospital and take them forward to planning permission stage.”

Plans will support ‘greener choices’

He added: “This also provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate through our processes and decision making that we will do what we can to minimise our carbon footprint and provide facilities to support greener choices for staff, patients and visitors.”

Michelle Johnstone, area manager and project director, said three recent workshops had recently been help to help develop the service model.

She said: “There was some rich discussion and innovative ideas put forward, showing the real power of working in partnership to change the way things are done to benefit the community.

“I look forward to carrying on this work with local partners.”

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