Concerns have been raised over healthcare in the north after NHS Highland issued advice to dial NHS24 instead of going to the accident and emergency ward.
Far North MP Jamie Stone has written to the scottish government demanding an action plan for Highland residents.
Mr Stone, Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, has highlighted the “struggle” Highlanders are experiencing to get a GP appointment, describing the situation as “desperate times”,
Patients urged to call NHS24
The MP’s letter comes after Inverness’ Raigmore Hospital advised patients not to seek Accident and Emergency (A&E) services unless the situation is life-threatening.
A tweet posted by NHS Highland on November 29 read: “Raigmore Hospital is very busy today with long waiting times in A&E. If you need urgent care that is not life-threatening, call NHS24 on 111.”
The same concerning message remains today, Tuesday, November 5, on the NHS Highland website
In response to this, Mr Stone expressed his concern “about the capacity and operational effectiveness of Raigmore Hospital this winter.”
The 69-year-old politician added that Highland residents are struggling to get through to their local GP reception for appointments.
The Far North MP demands the Scottish Government a response outlining an action plan for residents to be able to access healthcare “at all times.”
Highland MP Jamie Stone ‘desperate’ letter amid Raigmore Hospital A&E chaos
Below is the full letter from Jamie Stone MP to the Scottish Government:
Dear Cabinet Minister,
I am writing to raise concerns about the capacity and operational effectiveness of Raigmore Hospital this winter.
Via social media, NHS Highland is advising my constituents to stay away from Accident and Emergency unless their condition is life threatening , due to the business and long waits.
Constituents report a struggle to even get through to their local GP reception, never mind secure a timely appointment.
Through casework that comes into my office, I am acutely aware of the existing social care crisis that leaves many with no clinical need left resident in hospital beds which are now clearly in demand.
Constituents bring me stories of being assessed as needing clinical, hospital-based care, yet are being sent home on the bus because there are no beds.
These are desperate times. I would be grateful if you could provide a response that outlines what plan is in place for Highlanders so that they can continue to access healthcare at all times.
NHS Highland has been contacted for comment.