Three staff to join NHS psychiatric service

Three new psychiatric appointments have been made by NHS Shetland.

Medical director Roger Diggle today heralded the move as a “new era” for mental health in Shetland.

Two of the three appointments are straight replacements, with the third, a “speciality doctor” being a new role.

The child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) doctor is currently having induction, and will come to Shetland for six sessions per month.

A new clinical psychiatrist, Martin Scholz, now working in Devon, will start work on 1st June.

The third post has been made to adult psychiatrist Almarie Harmse, who will start work on 1st July.

NHS Shetland chief executive Ralph Roberts said the successful appointments were “really good news. The increased capacity gives us a really good basis [for delivery of services].”

Mr Roberts added that the number of community psychiatric nurses (CPNs) had also been increased.

However a meeting of the board of NHS Shetland heard that there was increased demand for psychological therapies [from CPNs], possibly as a result of increased awareness of mental illness.

Meanwhile NHS Shetland is hoping to set up a “place of safety” for mental health patients in crisis, where they could stay for 24, 48 or even 72 hours prior to transfer south, if necessary. Mr Roberts said this place would be in the “community”, probably in Lerwick, but “not at home and not in hospital”.

The place would need to provide intensive staffing support, led by CPNs, together with healthcare support workers in a “mixed team”. Mr Roberts acknowledged the need would be “short-term and unpredictable”.

There is already a “place of safety” in the Gilbert Bain’s Hospital Ward 3, but NHS chiefs have been investigating an alternative for some time.

Money has been set aside for the place of safety to be established in the second half of this year. Mr Roberts said the money will come from the savings on the Scalloway Health Centre, which is due to open in the former primary department of Scalloway School in August. The Scottish government gave a capital grant of around £2.1 million for the health centre, which was given to the council for the project. The final costings were less than this amount.


Add Your Comment
  • Dr Kate Lovett

    • April 23rd, 2015 9:27

    Delighted that Dr Scholz will be joining the team. He will be sorely missed in Devon but so pleased that he is taking up this opportunity. My grandfather was a Shetlander and I have very fond memories of visiting the Islands in 1976 and again in 2006. I hope Shetland will give him a very warm welcome.

  • David Spence

    • April 23rd, 2015 13:13

    I am sure Shetland will welcome Dr Scholz, Kate. However, I am very concerned with future mental health treatment and support within Shetland if the vile Tories get back into power for another 5 years in May.

    Yes, Scotland has control of the budgets within the NHS, but at the same time, the vile Tories are reducing these budgets more and more with the result many area’s within Scotland are over-stretched in providing the care and the after care. As well as this, the vile Tories have only executed 40% of the proposed cuts they are planning to do within State run services, and I suspect there will be much more further cuts within the NHS.

    Despite the fact Cameron said ‘ The NHS is safe in our hands ‘ he has proved this to be not the case. What he is doing, especially in England and Wales, is privatisation via the back door. The vile Tories are slowly piece by piece selling off parts of the NHS, and are also using tax payers money to help these private companies establish themselves as quick as possible in taking over such services.

    As these budget cuts have a more and more a detrimental affect on the NHS within Scotland, I fear this will this will have a greater an impact of what the NHS can do within islands communities, including the support of helping people with psychological issues and the support required after.

    It is good that Shetland has increased the staffing levels in this area of medicine, but I fear this will be a short lived experience as the cuts have a greater impact on island communities and the service the NHS can provide within them.

    It will be a very costly experience for many people in rural and island locations within Scotland if the NHS is replaced with ‘ Profit before treatment ‘ where, as you will know, treatment will be reduced but people will be paying much, much more for a half-baked service compared to what it was when the NHS was for the people and not private corporate companies.

    • sandy mcmillan

      • April 24th, 2015 0:03

      well said David Spence, they are worse than vile Tories, my grip with these mob in Westminster is the way they treated myself and probably a lot of us pensioners, I was donated a £4.00 Increase in my State Pension only to find out these vile tory mob had reduced my Pension Credit by £12.00, I contacted the Pension office only to be told that the £4.00 was taken me over the livable income, I then asked but why take £12.00 the answer given That is the way the system works, give £4.00, Take £12’00 if that is system the time has come to put them out of office, nothing tallyies up with this Tory mobsters

  • Martin Scholtz

    • April 25th, 2015 9:00

    It is a privilege to be granted this opportunity to make a contribution to the mental health services in Shetland.


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