Health secretary Jeane Freeman yesterday visited Skye and Lochalsh to meet with members of the community and clinicians to see first-hand the implementation of the Sir Lewis Ritchie Report.
The government official visited Portree Hospital in the morning, meeting with campaigners and clinicians before heading south to the Mackinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford and Lochalsh Health Centre in the afternoon.
Ms Freeman’s visit to Skye and Lochalsh came as it was announced yesterday that a revamp in the delivery of healthcare services in the area has been given the go-ahead by members of the NHS Highland board.
The plans, worth more than £20million, are designed to modernise health and social care services in Skye, Lochalsh and South-West Ross, and were approved by the health authority’s board following the conclusion of a special meeting earlier this month.
Ms Freeman yesterday, said: “My visit to Skye and Lochalsh today has been an opportunity to find out more about the work underway to deliver the recommendations in Sir Lewis Ritchie’s report on out-of-hours services.
“Reading the latest report and hearing from members of the community, the clinicians and other partners has reassured me that NHS Highland are moving in the right direction.
“I have been particularly impressed with the level of commitment and drive shown by the community and their representatives working with NHS Highland and their partners to develop solutions together.”
Under the proposals, a new state-of-the-art £20million hospital will be delivered to Broadford, taking over from the existing Dr Mackinnon Memorial Hospital.
The new facility, which will be situated between the existing hospital and the Broadford Health Centre, is to provide 24 in-patient beds, an emergency department, x-ray and ultrasound services, out-patient clinics, an infusion suite and a midwife-led community maternity unit.
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As well as delivering a brand new hospital in the south end of the island, the redesign of services will also see investment in community beds in the north of the island, subject to the conclusion of an option appraisal, alongside implementing Sir Lewis Ritchie’s recommendations for out of hours services.
NHS Highland’s chief executive, Iain Stewart, said: “This investment represents a major step forward for NHS services in both Skye and Badenoch and Strathspey.
“It supports our efforts to modernise and transform the delivery of healthcare and, in terms of our promise to improve Out-of-Hours care on Skye, it is very much in line with the recommendations of the Ritchie Report.”