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NorthLink: no 'direct talks' with health board on patient travel

NHS Shetland voted in favour of sending the majority of its patients for treatment in Aberdeen via the ferry.NORTHLINK managing director Stuart Garrett says NHS Shetland has not had any "direct talks" with the ferry operator over its plans to send patients south for treatment on the boat rather than by plane.

He added that bookings will continue to be made on a "first come, first served" basis once NHS Shetland starts to use the service to send patients to Aberdeen for appointments in the coming months.

Islanders caught up in Westminster lockdown

Miriam Brett, pictured during the 2014 Scottish independence campaign, was involved in the Westminster lockdown on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Simon BakerSHETLAND Fishermen's Association executive officer Simon Collins and islander Miriam Brett were among those caught up in the aftermath of Wednesday's deadly attack in London.

Four people died and at least 40 people were injured when an attacker drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before stabbing a police officer outside the Houses of Parliament.

Second-hand bookshop plans for Kergord

Design proposals for the bookshop by local architects Redman and Sutherland.THE DISUSED Kergord hatchery could be reinvented as a second-hand bookshop if planning permission is secured.

The idea is the brainchild of Dr Sarah Taylor, who stepped down from her role of as director of public health at NHS Shetland in 2016 after more than 15 years at the helm.

No suicides in 18 months as training pays off

NHS Shetland’s Choose Life coordinator Karen Smith.SHETLAND’s suicide rate has dropped significantly in the last two years as work continues across the isles to spread awareness of prevention.

There have been no suicides in the last 18 months, which is a marked contrast to a previous average rate of seven a year.

NHS Shetland’s Choose Life coordinator Karen Smith believes that rolling out training within the community, as well as raising awareness, has helped to reduce stigma.

Councillor Wills foiled in attempt to make SIC seminars open to members of the public

Jonathan Wills' attempt to open up SIC seminars to the public was dismissed by all but one other councillor present.AN ATTEMPT by soon-to-retire SIC councillor Jonathan Wills to ensure elected members’ seminars are held in public was defeated by a resounding 17-2 margin at the last local authority meeting prior to May’s election.

Wills, who worked as a journalist in the islands for many years, argued that the council had acquired the habit of staging seminars and workshops that “discuss things that could and should be discussed in public”.

Cooke puts £2m into Unst and Aith sites

One of the Triton pens purchased by Cooke Aquaculture.COOKE Aquaculture has spent £2 million on upgrading three of its Shetland sites with new salmon farm equipment.

The company has bought 38 Triton pens from Fusion Marine in Argyll, as well as other equipment such as bird net support wheels, as it invests in its future in the isles. 

Overnight break-ins at school and store

POLICE in Shetland are making enquiries into a crime of “malicious damage” in classrooms at Sound Primary School on Monday morning.

Officers said the crime was believed to have happened overnight and significant damage had been caused to the premises and equipment.

Police said it “appears to be a completely malicious act, with no discernible attempt made to actually steal any property”.

Double inter county success for netball teams

It was the first time both Shetland netball teams had defeated Orkney away from home. Back row (from left): Sarah Grogan (holding daughter Caitlin) Clare Farmer, Bethany Anderson, Kayti Jeromson, Shelley Sandison, Debbie Smith, Natalie Constable, Claire Morris, Vicki Smith, Louise Moar, Ann-Marie Goudie and Rhianne Johnson.Front row: Sanna Aitken, Karen Bannister, Ava Sim, Kirsti Leask, Kim Johnson, Victoria Duthie and Maisie Unsworth. Photo: Mark Harcus.SHETLAND’S netballers enjoyed a double triumph in Kirkwall at the weekend, with both the A and B teams winning on visiting territory in the inter-county for the first time.

The two teams won their matches at the Pickaquoy Centre, both by an identical margin of 52-25, on Saturday afternoon.

New MSYPs Charlie and Sonny ‘truly grateful’

Newly elected MSYPs Sonny Thomason (second from left) and Charlie Haddon (third from left) with Martin Summers of Shetland Islands Council (left) and deputy returning officer Anne Cogle. Photo: SIC. SHETLAND’s two latest members of the Scottish Youth Parliament have been elected, with Charlie Haddon and Sonny Thomason winning the poll.

Over 1,000 votes were cast by young people aged between 12 and 25 over the last two weeks, and on Monday the election result was announced at the Islesburgh Community Centre in Lerwick.

Erik the Red – who else?

Jarl John Duncan's galley Larkspur is being sacrificed to the flames - Photo: Mark BerryTHE LONG Shetland winter comes officially to an end this weekend with the Delting Up Helly Aa - the final Viking festival of the year – already well under way.

This year's guizer jarl, council roads engineer John Duncan, said he has had no difficulties in finding the right character to represent.

Man used bank cards to feed online habit

A MAN from Lerwick who used other people's bank card details to fraudulently obtain over £1,000 to fund an online gaming habit has been sent to jail for one year.

Ian Mutch, of Leog, pled guilty at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday to a second charge of fraud having previously admitted a similar offence.

On 15 July at an address in Lerwick and elsewhere, the 24 year old presented online to Google UK a debit card in the name of someone else and pretended to be the card owner to obtain services, namely access to computer games, to the value of £694.76 by fraud.

Petition to build large family homes

Parents Jolene and Chad Engum with five of their children (from left to right): Natas (aged 4), Stanley (12), Kain (1), Kyah (6) and Luna (2) – Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland NewsA PREGNANT mother living in a three-bedroom house in Lerwick with five of her children and her husband has launched a petition to encourage Shetland Islands Council and Hjaltland Housing Association to build larger sized homes in the isles.

Jolene Engum, who is due to give birth to another child next month, says things are reaching breaking point in her family home in Sandveien after the couple were turned down for a four-bedroom property elsewhere in the town.

MSP to query NHS travel policy at Holyrood

NHS Shetland chairman Ian Kinniburgh.NHS SHETLAND says it remains fully committed to making an overnight ferry trip the default option for most medical patients travelling to Aberdeen – amid stern opposition and an effort from MSP Tavish Scott to have the decision overturned.

On Tuesday the health board voted 6-4 to send most patients on NorthLink’s 12-hour ferry from Lerwick to Aberdeen rather than a short plane journey in the hope of saving £1 million from its £2.7 million patient travel budget.

Flooded crab boat arrives safely in Scalloway

Crab boat Edward Henry heading back to the safety of the port alongside the Aith lifeboat. Photo: Leslie TullochA CRAB fishing boat with eight crew on board which had its bridge flooded after being hit by a wave west of Shetland on Tuesday night arrived safely into Scalloway Harbour on Wednesday morning.

The 25-metre Edward Henry (DH100) managed to make its way into the harbour on its own power at around 7.15am accompanied by Aith Lifeboat RNLI Charles Lidbury and the anchor handling vessel Nor Solan.

Faroe route cancelled following poor bookings

SHETLANDERS hoping to use Loganair’s new one-stop service to Faroe this summer have been left disappointed after the route was shelved less than three months before it was due to begin.

A spokesman for the airline said the decision was made last week following a lack of demand for the service, which would have connected Shetland to Vagar via Aberdeen twice a week. Anyone who had made bookings will be refunded in full.

NHS patients to travel to Aberdeen by ferry

The default option for patients travelling to Aberdeen will be ferry rather than air.PATIENTS from Shetland who have to travel to Aberdeen for medical treatment and appointments are to be sent on an overnight ferry rather than an hour-long plane journey in a contentious move that could save the isles’ health board as much as £1 million a year.

NHS Shetland’s board decided on Tuesday - by a margin of six votes to four - to offer passages by ferry unless there is a specific clinical reason meaning patients must travel by air.

Newcomers Julie and John to stand for SIC

Lerwick North council hopeful John Fraser. Photo: Shetland News/Neil RiddellA WOMAN from Scalloway who will place education and care for the elderly at the heart of her agenda is to stand in May’s council elections, while a former manager of the Lerwick Health Centre is also throwing his hat into the ring.

Julie Buchan, who was an HR/payroll manager at Lerwick Fish Traders Ltd before taking voluntary redundancy in 2014, will put herself forward for the Shetland Central ward for the first time.

Hockey women reach district cup final

The triumphant Shetland team following Sunday's 3-0 win over Madras FP at the Aberdeen Sports Village. SHETLAND’S hockey ladies have made it through to the final of the Scottish District Cup after eight years of trying – and will face inter county rivals Orkney in the final at the end of April.

Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Madras FP at the Aberdeen Sports Village earned Shetland a place in the final after reaching the semi-finals five consecutive times.

Sexism and speed bumps at Althing

Speakers Richard Forbes Chris Bunyan, Barbara Dinnage and Donald Murray often had to support a motion which they perhaps did not personally agree with. the debate was chaired by Karen Fraser - Photo: Yetti Biscuit/Shetland NewsTHERE was not one but five topics discussed at the latest Althing event in Lerwick on Saturday night as the debaters raced against the clock to win over the audience.

Sexism, speed bumps and Scottish referendums were all brought up at the Staney Hill hall on an evening of speed debating that often erred more on the side of hilarity than hard discourse.

Freeman: ‘social security is a human right’

Scottish minister for social security Jeane Freeman MSP: "Island proofing will become enforceable". Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland NewsJEANE Freeman, the minister for social security in the Scottish Government, has pledged that Shetland's specific issues of poverty and inequality will be addressed in the forthcoming islands deal.

The MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley visited the isles on Friday to learn about the high cost of living and poverty in a community that is generally regarded as being well off.

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