Talks under way about a changing NHS

Patients in the isles will see a different NHS Shetland in 10 years time – with discussions underway about changes to health services.

That was the view of chief executive Ralph Roberts following the first of a series of meetings to help shape the future of health and care in the isles.

More than 70 people attended including NHS staff, Integration Joint Board Members, SIC councillors, voluntary sector workers and patient groups.

Discussions were held about how services are provided through hospital and acute care, community health and social care, public health and the voluntary sector.

The meeting was not open to the public or press, however Mr Roberts sat down with the press on Monday to talk about the first session.

He said there was a lot of discussion including about transport links, clinically led changes in future, rather than management led changes, improving training opportunities in the isles and helping people to look after themselves too.

Financial pressures for the health board have been well documented, as well as the impact of an ageing population and “the demographic time bomb” with demands on the workforce.

However Mr Roberts welcomed the broad discussion, and said he felt “really positive” about the meeting.

“If you look at health and care system in Shetland we perform really, really well compared to most of the indicators that are out there. We can see the pressures on the system,” he said.

Mr Roberts said the health board wanted to continue to provide a high quality service and “if we want to continue to evolve the NHS that requires change.”

As a society, he also believed there needed to be consideration on “how much we’re willing to spend on health and care”.

But Mr Roberts also said if people were living longer in good quality health that would minimise the demand on the service.

People living longer and healthier also wanted to volunteer and participate in things too, he said, which was a more positive look at an ageing population.

Asked if Shetland will see a different health board in a decade’s time, he replied: “I think we will. But actually it’s pretty different now to what it was 10 years ago.”

Mr Roberts added: “If it it isn’t different then there’s something wrong”.

Change he said “shouldn’t be something we think of as automatically bad. This is a continuation of an evolving service. If you want services to continue to be the best they can be that requires you to continue to shape them from what is needed at that point from what’s needed before.”

The next scenario planning session will be on 28th February.

Once the meetings are complete the healthboard expects to provide more information to the community on its plans.



Add Your Comment
  • David Spence

    • January 30th, 2018 7:43

    It would be interesting, if not quite depressing, to see how health care on the islands would fair under the dreaded cloud of ‘ profit before care priority ‘ and would Shetland be considerably worse off under Brex*hit and this of a private healthcare service run by US Corporate Companies?

    Will this be our healthcare service in 10 years time?

    Is this, in reality, the beginning of the laying down of the foundations for the privatisation of our National Health Service?

    The way this government is shaping the NHS by under-funding, lack of investment, shortage of doctors and nurses, many services being privatised through the backdoor, consultancy and agency staff being paid ridiculously high wages for very little work, the government consistently criticising the NHS for poor performance through the BBC News and other media outlets

    I just hope there is still a NHS in 10 years time.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • February 23rd, 2018 18:03

    How about the Chief Executive, Ralph Roberts, stepping up and telling us what changes have been in the NHSS Shetland in the last Ten Years.
    He speaks enough about these changes, but what are they and where,
    Now the Chief Executive Ralph Roberts, has started gibbering about what the next Ten years will bring, Why cant he tell us, I think he is being read to many Nursery Rhymes, This is where he is getting his ideas from, could it be Ba Ba Black Sheep, or Wee Willie Winky, that he depends on


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