Below is the text of the sort of letter which we are urging people to send to Alex Salmond appealing to him to intervene in the NHS decision to withdraw the District Nurses' out-of-hours cover. It can be copied from the site and pasted into Word to be sent by post, or it can be copied and pasted into an email. Please add your address and a signature.
A more personalised version would, of course, carry a little more weight. Please stress that this is a broken promise, and that we had no warning or consultation.
You can send an email direct to Alex Salmond here, or email the letter to:
where it will be redirected to him.
Thank you for your help.
Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP
The Scottish Parliament
Dear Mr Salmond
District Nurses – West Ardnamurchan
NHS Highland has decided, suddenly and without consultation, to withdraw the two West Ardnamurchan District Nurses from out-of-hours cover – despite frequent promises not to.
This is a very remote area with a high proportion of old and young people, and patients with medical problems. At present, the Nurses can be called out by NHS24 or our local GP at any time in the event of a medical emergency. This has been a wonderful service in an area where an ambulance is a minimum of 1¼ hours away but has taken 4 hours to reach us, our doctors are an hour away, and the nearest A&E is two hours away. Our position is much worse than most small Scottish islands with much smaller populations, who have their own doctor.
NHS Highland has given us very little notice and no details of the economic or other reasons for this cut in service. They have not consulted with us or with our local practice, nor has there been an evaluation of the impact of the move, for example on additional costs of GPs and helicopter medivac resources. We have had many assurances from NHS Highland that the Nurses would not be withdrawn. For example, our ten new First Responders completed their training over the last few months on the clear understanding that the Nurses would be available to support them. They all intend to resign when the Nurses are withdrawn.
The District Nurses are proud of the service they give, and wish to continue it. Our GPs want them to continue. In this remote community, their presence makes it possible for our old people to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. It has given families the confidence to move out here, reversing a long-term decline in our young population. In the many emergencies they have attended, the District Nurses have saved lives, controlled pain and suffering, and greatly reduced the workload of our local GPs, who cover a huge area.
Please use your influence to have this decision reversed.