Tuesday, 7 December 2010

District Nurses to be Withdrawn

West Ardnamurchan's two District Nurses are to be withdrawn from out-of-hours duties in January - so says Tracy Ligema, Locality General Manager for NHS Highland. In a letter to West Ardnamurchan's Community Council, received on Saturday, she says that the two Nurses are not 'sustainable' - which is bureaucrat-speak for 'we're not prepared to pay for them' - and their service will be withdrawn in January.

A packed meeting of Council last night heard Chairman Rosie Curtis break the news, and immediately vowed to fight this short-sighted decision. The community has already received promises of support from local politicians as disgusted as we are that the NHS has gone back on repeated promises that it would not withdraw the service.

At a meeting an hour before, the members of the newly-formed First Responders group decided to withdraw their emergency services on the day the District Nurses stop. As Rosie explained, "We first responders were promised, again and again, that we would not be left without the immediate and close support of our District Nurses. The NHS had reneged on that promise. If the Nurses go, we go!"

Rosie added, "Without the Nurses, the nearest emergency cover is the ambulance at Strontian - an hour and a quarter away - or one of the doctors from Acharacle - if they're available. And, to make it worse, despite frequent promises from the Scottish Ambulance Service, the ambulance has still come down single-manned - that is, on the two-hour journey to hospital, there's no-one in the back with the patient!"

The community is forming an Action Group to fight the NHS decision.


  1. Thank you for posting this very important information. This short sighted decision will have a huge impact on quality of life and maybe death on people living, working and visiting west Ardnamurchan. First responders (extremely valuable in their role) are in no way a substitute for out of hours nursing care.

  2. Hi Jon,

    What a terrible threat from NHS. Can only think some one sitting in a nice warm office with nothing much to do decided that thirty miles from Strontian would just take half an hour to get to Kilchoan, do they not realize we are not on a motorway and in fact have they ever been down the single track road? We are proud of our nurses and they do a fantastic job that why one of them was named as Nurse of The Year. Are the NHS going to wait till there is a death before they realize they are in the wrong, they are full of promises which they don't keep, its bad enough that maternity services have already been withdrawn from our nurses so if anybody suddenly goes into an emergency labour it could be too late by the time a nurse/doctor/ambulance gets here.

    Regards, Sue.

  3. As very regular visitors to the area we know how vital the nurses are to the community. We know this from speaking to many local people and from personal experience when members of our family have needed to see a nurse at the surgery.I recently spent a week at Ockle following some radiotherapy treatment and was assured that if I was to have any reaction to the treatment I would be able to get expert advice from a nurse- I would not have felt confident to come up there if that service was not there. It would be a disaster to loose this service.

  4. Many thanks, Christine, Sue and Trevor, for writing in about this. A campaign is getting underway to prevent the change happening, and we will be asking people to participate.


  5. As a regular visitor I have wrtten to NHS as directed,councillor and MP.
    ruth mason