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In brief for 8 February 2011

Privatisation grounded
ATTEMPTS to privatise the UK’s search and rescue helicopters have been halted after the Department of Transport and Ministry of Defence suspended the procurement process.
Private consortium Soteria had been named preferred bidder for the £6 billion contract which was intended to come into force next year.
But irregularities in the bidding process have now resulted in the suspension and a rethinking of the process.
In a statement the company said on Tuesday: “We remain confident that Soteria was designated as the preferred bidder for the SAR-H programme as a result of the value, expertise, dedication, excellence and exceptional technical solution that Soteria can provide in leading search-and-rescue efforts across the UK.
“Soteria is evaluating the government’s decision and if given the opportunity is confident that it is capable of delivering the SAR-H programme and stands ready to work with the UK government.”
Pharmacy fears
MORE than 250 people unanimously opposed plans to bring a private pharmacy to Scalloway after hearing it would threaten the local GP surgery’s income.
A public meeting packed Scalloway public hall on Monday night when speaker after speaker called for NHS Shetland to examine planning applications from Norsepharm Ltd and the GP surgery at the same time.
NHS Shetland said they had been advised by Scottish government lawyers that they had to consider the Norsepharm application first as it came in before a second bid from doctors Paul and Philippa Veenhuisen of Melbyhealth Ltd.
However NHS Shetland chief executive Ralph Roberts said that the strength of feeling in the community would be passed on to the Pharmacy Practices Committee when it meets on 22 February to discuss the Norsepharm bid.
Monday’s meeting heard that the GP practice would lose one third of its income – £150,000 a year – if it lost the pharmacy, which would force it to reduce its service to the public.
Court action
Mossbank man Laurence Ball has confirmed that he has lodged civil action against NHS Grampian after doctors in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary removed a lung by mistake, more than five years ago.
The 60 year old former fire fighter was admitted to hospital in 2005 after doctors had diagnosed cancer in his left lung.
He had to undergo life saving surgery only to learn afterwards that he did not have cancer in the first place.
After years of out of court negotiations between Mr Ball’s legal team and that of NHS Grampian over the level of compensation, he confirmed on Tuesday that he was seeking a six figure sum.
School vandals
SHETLAND police are looking for witnesses who may have seen damage caused to the gate at Bressay primary school between 4pm last Friday and 8am on Monday.
The police can be contacted on 01595 692110 or 694544.
No Sleep ‘Til Yell
A DOCUMENTARY about the award winning Shetland Folk Festival is to be broadcast on BBC Two Scotland next Tuesday at 10pm.
Filmed during last year’s 30th annual event, No Sleep ‘Til Yell celebrates and captures the unique charm of Britain’s most northerly music festival.
The film features bluegrass, country and Indian classical as well as folk music from Sweden, Shetland, Scotland and Ireland. It also pays tribute to Shetland’s fiddling tradition of Shetland, largely nurtured by the festival’s co-founder Tom Anderson.
The half hour documentary will be available on the BBC iPlayer after it is broadcast.