Look at other solutions (Gerald Freshwater)

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?

Gerald Freshwater
Hill House,


Add Your Comment
  • Alvin Leong

    • March 20th, 2017 10:10

    Maybe NHS Shetland can get the oil industry to fly the patients to Aberdeen out of Scatsta.

  • George Dickson

    • March 20th, 2017 13:18

    Why would each patient require a two berth cabin? I have been sent down to ARI and travelled in a four berth cabin and that was bearable.

  • Johan Adamson

    • March 20th, 2017 14:56

    What about the government running it like Northlink was (and could still be since it did not have to be tendered)? Sometimes when you go to Aberdeen the majority of the plane is filled with NHS patients (they all get on the bus to the ARI) or councillors, so all public money anyway.

  • David Spence

    • March 20th, 2017 15:37

    I am convinced (just like the SNP were told (despite an alleged investigation) to give the contract to Serco – when it comes to the Tories and Serco in bed with eachother, it is not surprising Serco are getting so much contracts from the Tories (contracts, it is alleged, they are not even qualified to do but hey ho, as long as they make a profit, right?)) this is just the Tories backing Serco, by forcing the NHS to use a lesser means of getting to Aberdeen……….but Serco are smiling.

    Who is really benefiting from this one should ask?

    • Rachel Buchan

      • March 20th, 2017 23:12

      What does this have to do with the tories? Not that I wouldn’t like to blame them, but NHS Scotland is separate from NHS England and Wales and it’s funding is separate so far as I understand.


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