Shetland’s two most remote inhabited islands are to benefit from new surgeries, NHS Shetland announced today. Fair Isle and Foula will have dedicated premises for the provision of clinical services, currently provided in nurses’ houses.
The health board expects the surgeries to be ready by the summer. The plans will involve the refurbishment of an empty property in Fair Isle and the installation of a purpose designed modular unit in Foula. NHS Shetland has set aside funding of £75,000 from its capital plan over the next six months to progress this work.
Chief executive of NHS Shetland Ralph Roberts said: “The need to provide modern clinic facilities in both Fair Isle and Foula has been a priority for us and I am very pleased that we now have plans that we can progress over the next few months.
“This will provide these communities, the nurses who live and work in the islands and visiting clinicians with modern facilities for delivering healthcare services. I am aware that this is seen as a significant issue for these communities and I hope this confirmation of our plans will give them confidence that the work will now be taken forward.”
Both Fair Isle and Foula have a resident community nurse and visiting services from other professionals such as GPs. Clinic facilities have traditionally and are still provided from within the island nurses’ houses, but these are deemed to be not of an appropriate standard to deliver modern healthcare.
The new surgery in Fair Isle will be provided in an empty property leased from the National Trust. NHS Shetland will be paying and arranging for the refurbishment of the building.
Foula’s surgery will be a prefabricated unit and discussions on the best location for this are continuing with the local community.