A couple of years ago I needed specialist care in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. As no member of my family was able to accompany me I travelled with a Red Cross escort to Aberdeen, and was transferred from the airport to the hospital by the Red Cross bus.
I have subsequently stayed in the Red Cross hostel in Aberdeen which was also excellent.
Volenteers ask for no recognition but it is important to remember what they do. The escort who made the journey possible for me had left home before nine that morning, travelled to Lerwick to collect me for the mid-morning flight and then drove to the airport, travelled on the plane with me and effortlessly negotiated the maze of corridors at ARI to make sure I arrived at the correct department.
She then had to make her way back to the airport and catch a flight, possibly the last one, back to Shetland. In reality, in order to do a 45-minute plane transfer that lady gave up her whole day.
Can NHS Shetland seriously expect its voluntary services to add an overnight 12-hour boat journey to the time away from their own homes and families?