I have considerable disquiet about the health board’s default option to send patients to Aberdeen by ferry.
There is a considerable number of such patients throughout the year, and though ferry travel may reduce this somewhat, even so, each will need a two berth cabin when travelling. No-one seems to have considered the effect on other ferry users.
Already, at busy times, it can be difficult to book a cabin when travelling by boat, especially when going via Orkney to Aberdeen. With perhaps another five or 10 cabins needed per trip, unless bookings are made very far in advance, it will be “aeroplane seats” or sleeping on the bar settees for many.
From the patients’ point of view, they may find it difficult to get a cabin, too, since appointments are often made at relatively short notice, or changed for other reasons. Should an ill person have to travel overnight, sitting up?
In the early 1990s we set up a travel agency in the hospital, purely for NHS patients and staff, saving money on travel costs that way. Perhaps the board ought to look for some other innovative solution, rather than disrupting everybody’s travel by looking only at the cheapest extant option?