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Paper petition opposing new NHS patient travel policy

Passenger ferry Hrossey arriving in Lerwick.

A PAPER petition is set to be launched this week in an effort to add extra pressure on NHS Shetland over its decision to send the majority of patients to Aberdeen for treatment by ferry.

Two online petitions had already been launched to oppose the policy change, but Yell resident Bob Birchall said he believes physical signatures would help the cause.

The local health board voted in March to stop flying its most of its patients to Aberdeen for treatment in an effort to save around £1 million on its travel budget.

Birchall said he hopes to ask for signatures in person in Lerwick from Thursday, while he also will drop off copies of the petition in any shops willing to take part.

“I’m prepared to stand in the rain if necessary,” he told BBC Radio Shetland.

An online petition by south mainland resident Hugh Harrop has now attracted over 1,250 signatures.

The matter is due to be discussed again at NHS Shetland’s next board meeting on 18 April.