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NHS chief: closing hospital's Ronas Ward is most ‘efficient’ way of cutting spending

Ronas Ward at the Gilbert Bain Hospital could be shut down and its services provided in care centres and homes instead.By CHRIS COPE & NEIL RIDDELL

NHS SHETLAND chief executive Ralph Roberts has defended the health board’s plans to close Gilbert Bain Hospital’s Ronas Ward as the “most efficient” way of cutting spending while minimising the impact on services.

He also revealed that the health board wants to undertake a study over the next year into the size of the hospital to explore how the isles’ service should look amid a time of “significant financial challenge”.

OSCR seeks public views on charitable trust's 'undemocratic' new governance proposals

Shetland Charitable Trust's North Road premises.SCOTLAND’S charity regulator is consulting the people of Shetland before deciding whether to approve Shetland Charitable Trust’s latest governance proposals, which may result in the £230m fund no longer having any elected representatives.

There remains uncertainty over the trust’s future governance arrangements after Shetland Islands Council indicated in June that it no longer wished to nominate any councillors to sit on SCT’s board.

Fishermen's photography 'hugely impressive'

Kevin Ritch's Fish Eyes is one of many striking pieces in the At Sea and Shore exhibition. All photos: Davie GardnerOVER the centuries, despite many ups, downs and challenges, Shetland's fishing industry has maintained its near rightful place - even through the heady days of the islands' oil rush - as by far the most important and sustainable component of our local economy, writes Davie Gardner.

Library edges closer to move back to old premises

The library's current base at St Ringans Church (left) is a stone's throw away from the old premises at Lower Hillhead. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland NewsSHETLAND Library has moved one step closer to returning to its old premises at Lerwick's Lower Hillhead after a planning application was submitted to the council.

While the move was expected to take place at some point this year, Shetland Islands Council confirmed on Thursday that there is still no exact timetable in place.

First fire festival of the year well under way

THE ICY wind and snowy squalls sweeping through Scalloway on Friday morning failed to dampen the spirits as Shetland's first fire festival of the season got under way.

Agreement reached over freight vessels pay

The NorthLink cargo vessel Hildasay arriving at Lerwick harbour.AN AGREEMENT has been reached over low pay for workers on the Northern Isles freight vessels, which will see services return to operator Serco NorthLink.

Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf confirmed on Thursday that a new arrangement will come into place in February which will see workers being paid at least the UK minimum wage instead of rates as low as £4.50 an hour.

New gym part of £1m Clickimin revamp

The glazed area of the Clickimin would be demolished and replaced with a new gym, entrance and reception area. Photo: Shetland News/Neil RiddellCLICKIMIN Leisure Complex could be set for an overhaul costing in the region of £1 million – incorporating the creation of a new, expanded fitness gym and a revamped reception and entrance.

The move is partly designed to accommodate the additional demands when pupils from the new Anderson High School begin using the leisure centre for PE classes.

Lyall's Up Helly Aa cider set for launch

Lyall Gair has struck up a friendship with cider producer Thistly Cross, which is launching a special drink to tie in with his year as Up Helly Aa guizer jarl. AN UP Helly Aa-themed cider is being launched later this month to celebrate Shetland’s Viking festival season.

East Lothian-based cider company Thistly Cross has teamed up with local wholesaler JW Gray to develop and distribute the 5.5 per cent drink in the isles over the coming months.

It will be formally launched at Lerwick’s Grand Hotel on the afternoon of 31 January before going on sale in local pubs and shops.

Thistly Cross sales manager Luke Fenton said the idea for the cider came via this year’s Lerwick Up Helly Aa guizer jarl Lyall Gair, who is a “big fan” of the company’s drinks and has developed a strong friendship with its staff.

Coastguard helicopter returns to service

A Sikorsky S92 helicopter back in service at Sumburgh on Tuesday. Photo: Ronnie RobertsonTHE MCA has confirmed that Shetland Coastguard's Sikorsky S92 helicopter was back in service late on Tuesday afternoon after the entire global fleet was stopped from flying earlier in the day.

Sikorksy grounded the helicopters while mandatory inspections of tail rotor blades - and repairs where necessary - were carried out. 

Sikorsky grounds North Sea helicopters

Scatsta airport - Photo: Shetland NewsHELICOPTER manufacturer Sikorsky has grounded all its S92s for safety inspections following an incident in which a chopper lost control during an emergency landing offshore at the end of December.

Inspections of the tail rotors of all 60 S92 helicopters operating in the North Sea are now being carried out.

MSP concerned about fire control as Bressay crew mistakenly called out to Yell incident

MSP Tavish Scott is to meet chief fire officer Alisdair Hay to air his concerns on Tuesday.SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott is calling for a parliamentary review into the closure of the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service's Inverness control room after a series of hitches in the month since operations were moved to Dundee

Thirty days after the change, the decision to move the control room is under renewed scrutiny after a retired senior fire officer criticised what he described as a string of “potentially life-threatening” basic errors.

Ferries and flights could face more disruption

The Hjaltland goes into dry dock on Monday, while the Hrossey's sailings are expected to be subject to weather disruption this week.THE FORECAST of storm force winds and wintry weather has again caused NorthLink and Loganair to issue a warning to passengers that ferry and plane services are likely to be disrupted this week.

The MV Hrossey’s southbound sailing from Lerwick to Aberdeen on Monday should depart as scheduled at 7pm, but its arrival on Tuesday morning “may be delayed by up to two hours”.

'Sinister buffoon' Trump debated at Althing

Jonathan Wills speaking at the latest Althing debate as Ryan Thomson (left), chairwoman Karen Fraser (centre), Donald Murray (second from right) and Thor Holt (right) look on. Photo: Yetti BiscuitHE HAS been one of the biggest talking points across the globe in recent times, but on Saturday night the topic of the infamous Donald Trump reached Lerwick's very own Staney Hill Hall for the first Althing debate of the year.

The motion 'Trump - we got what we deserved' was simple yet complex, and often led to discussion about semantics rather than the US president elect's prospective policies or personality.

Photo of colossal wave goes global

The moment the wave hits the Skerry of Ashiness - Photo: Ryan SandisonA SHETLAND photographer who took an iconic image of Storm Conor on Boxing Day has described the attention he received from around the world as "mind blowing".

Ryan Sandison's photo of a massive wave breaking over the Skerry of Eshaness made it into most of the national newspapers and was shared more than 3,200 times online, while it has reached almost half a million users on his Facebook page.

Grieg’s new wellboat arrives after long wait

The new Martin Saele arriving at Lerwick harbour - Photo: Sydney SinclairLOCAL salmon producer Grieg Seafood Shetland has taken delivery of a brand new "state-of-the-art" wellboat on a long-term lease.

Built at the Spanish Gondan shipyard for Norwegian company Salmon Star AS, the 50-metre long Martin Saele arrived at Lerwick Harbour on 2 January.

Blueshell expands with company takeover

A typical Blueshell mussel farming site.BRAE based aquaculture business Blueshell Mussels has completed the takeover of mussel farm company SI Seafarms as it expands its portfolio in Shetland.

Blueshell has added 15 sea leases and around 1,500 tonnes of mussel growing capacity after acquiring the firm, which has a number of sites on the Westside.

Baby born in Scalloway layby

Proud parents Debbie and Alistair Morgan with their one day old baby boy Ryley.A FATHER who helped deliver his third child in a layby in Shetland after his wife's waters broke when their car hit a pothole says he feels hugely privileged.

Debbie and Alistair Morgan, both 29, were on their way to the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick in the early hours of Wednesday, when they were forced to cut their journey short.

Foodbank demand remains high

Foodbank manager David Grieve: 'I can only see demand for the foodbank going up' - Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland NewsSHETLAND Foodbank has seen demand for food parcels remain at a high level over the last year as locals continue to struggle from changes in the welfare system.

The service, which now operates under the umbrella of the nationwide Trussell Trust, gave out 464 food packages over the last year.

At the pick-up point on Wednesday, there was a constant stream of individuals and care workers collecting on behalf of clients. One man said he hadn't eaten since Sunday because he simply had no money.

MP makes case for a further EU referendum

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael believes there is a case for a fresh referendum to approve or reject the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The Liberal Democrat, who was firmly in the Remain camp along with 56.5 per cent of islanders who voted in the June poll, said people who voted for Brexit did so for “so many different reasons” - many of which were “contradictory”.

As a result, he believes that once issues such as the UK’s relationship with the single market, immigration and health service funding are determined in negotiations with Brussels, the people should be given a say on whether they accept the terms.

Loganair changes schedule to avoid gales

LOGANAIR has vastly altered its flight schedule for Friday in an attempt to avoid the worst of the anticipated strong winds.

A number of scheduled flights to and from Shetland have been moved to earlier times as airline Loganair attempts to dodge the poor weather.

Bigton sisters strive for more productive farm

Kirsty and Aimee Budge of Bigton Farm.A FARM that has been in the same south mainland family for over 150 years and is now run by two young sisters has been announced as Scotland’s sixth “monitor farm”.

Bigton Farm, run by 23 year old Kirsty Budge and 19 year old Aimee Budge, is one of what will eventually be nine monitor farms established as part of a three-year joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.


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