Comhairle Leader reacts to Health Board view

Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Angus Campbell has responded to today’s (Thursday) story in the Stornoway Gazette regarding the Health Board’s opinion of the Single Public Authority idea.

Reacting to the decision by NHS Western Isles to inform all their staff that they were not in favour of the Comhairle-backed plan, Mr Campbell, who is also chair of the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership, said: “Whilst the Comhairle appreciate that Bòrd Slàinte nan Eilean Siar operates under the guidance of the Scottish Government, we also believe that the agenda has moved on and that there has been a positive response from a number of Government Minister’s to the Outer Hebrides developing a local solution to the challenges facing us. We would hope that this would allow Bòrd Slàinte nan Eilean Siar to move forward as positive partners for the good of the Outer Hebrides. Our aims are to protect the delivery of services, to safeguard jobs and maintain control of our future. The alternative to not developing our own strategy is to have one developed for us which could have a long-lasting impact on the services we are able to provide. This is evident with the changes already happening elsewhere.”

In a message to staff earlier this week, NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson and Chair Neil Galbraith stated: “We have been and will continue to work with the Comhairle, mainland Health Boards, and other key partners to explore joint working arrangements. Where clear efficiency without sacrifice to quality is demonstrated, we will take those arrangements forward.

“NHS Western Isles is not currently developing or participating in any work associated with the assessment of the viability/benefit of a Single Public Authority or merger with any mainland Board.

“The Comhairle is free to make its comments on its perception of change and reform of public services but its view is not one that is shared by the Health Board or other public bodies in the Western Isles. Health Board staff should feel assured that no such discussions have been entered into by the Health Board.”