26th March 2017

Appalling decision (Joyce Davies)

I have just heard about the appalling decision from Shetland health board about stopping patients going on flights for hospital appointments.

The board already seriously restricts escorts. There has been no public consultation. I would love to know what the health minister and transport minister think of this and I will find out.

So for [what is sometimes] a 10-minute outpatient appointment you are away from your home for over two days or longer if you live on a small island? You would miss a lot of school if you were a child. What does the education minister think about it I wonder. Missing school can seriously impair achievement and academic results. What do our local schools here think?

Parents were certainly not consulted.

Are NHS staff going off island going on the ferry too? Are you Ralph Roberts?

A lot of us loathe 15 hours on the ferry. In all weathers. It is awful if you are not unwell but if you are in pain it is even worse. With the dry dock season you could be away for five days.

I go to a lot of appointments. I would miss the support of and time with my family which is much needed. A lot of people have carer responsibilities, cannot get that amount of time off work, may be self-employed and would lose income.

It means flights are going to be stopped and buses and taxis will lose income. It simply affects everything. It is very worrying indeed.

The health board needs to reverse this awful decision now and hold a proper public consultation. As somebody who requires a lot of health care, nobody has asked me what I think? What do relevant ministers at the Scottish Parliament think?

How do they propose children and elderly relatives are to be looked after when adults are away themselves or with one of their children? How will they make up their loss of income?

Did Mr Roberts personally support this decision? My child requires healthcare only available in Aberdeen. Why should she miss school to sit about in Aberdeen? This is so wrong. Please explain.

Did Mr Roberts investigate the serious lack of disabled cabins on the ferry, much needed by people with illness? There will never be enough.

Did he get the views of the airline, the ferry company, the NHS medical, nursing and allied health professions staff here and in Aberdeen?

An isolated decision is always a bad one. Please listen to patients. Nobody likes hospital treatment but we deserve equality with all Scottish people. I am deeply concerned.

Joyce Davies
Skeld.

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