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The truths they don't want you to read....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rural General Hospital

In July of last year I flagged up the potential issues surrounding the creation of "Rural General Hospitals" highlighted in a document produced by the Highland and Western Isles Health Boards.

Today the Minster has announced that the document has been accepted (in full?) and that the Government are proclaiming a Secure Future for Rural Hospitals.

Yes, but.

I'm not a medical professional, but it looks like the centralisation I was worried about is happening, when you read through the detail of the press release, and spot the omissions.

The six hospitals - in Oban, Fort William, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Stornoway and Wick - will all now provide core services, including:

* Outpatient, day case inpatient and rehabilitation services
* Nurse-led care for urgent cases, managing minor injuries and illnesses
* Initial management of broken bones
* Routine and emergency surgery
* Management of acute medical conditions
* Management of patients who have suffered a stroke
* Management of long-term conditions
* Maternity care, led by midwives
* Management of patients with more complicated problems before they are transferred.

"Initial management", "Care for urgent cases", "Management" and "transferred" are some of the key words that hint at what is missing.

Yes, the hospital is secure; but, the range of services is going to be reduced and the service is going to be provided at the centre by Raigmore. There is obviously a balance between quality of service and the access to those services - especially by the elderly or relatives of the ill.

The full report is available here, and whilst the creation of a new breed of specialist,

one who combines the skills of a general practitioner with specialist training in acute medicine,

or a "General Surgeon" as they used to be known, before being phased out, is to be welcomed, I think the balance of centralisation has moved just a bit too far, and we will be worse off for the changes.


Anonymous said...

So not only are the old folk freezing in their homes but they may also have to face long expensive trips to the mainland for medical treatment. If we could only think of some source of income that would maybe allieviate some of the problems facing the sick and elderly we could feel better about ourselves.

Anonymous said...

3:52 The Healthboard pays for people to travel to hospital for treatment. Granted the trips may be long (esp. if the ferries run late) but the flights are only 40mins.

Anonymous said...

rent 'em out 50p per 30 mins per knee!