MIND Your Head founder Shona Manson and business owner Lisa Ward are among four new non-executive members who have been appointed to the NHS Shetland board.
Jane Haswell and Natasha Cornick have also been selected as the high turnover of board members continues.
The news comes just days after Tom Morton resigned from his non-executive role as he felt he “could not support forcing” government health policy on Shetland anymore.
The four new members, who were announced by the Scottish Government’s public appointments team on Thursday, will start their roles on Monday and they will feature on the board until 9 July 2021.
Haswell, however, will take on her role between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2021.
The job comes with a remuneration of £7,479 a year for one day of work a week.
Manson was a chairperson of local mental health charity Mind Your Head for eleven years, while she has also been a project manager for Family Mediation Shetland for the last decade.
She hopes to bring to the NHS and the Integration Joint Board an “ability to communicate effectively on all levels, to listen to different perspectives and consider options while maintaining a strategic overview”.
Ward has over a decade of experience in marketing, PR and journalism.
She holds a first class BA honours degree in English from the University of Strathclyde and is involved Shetland’s local music scene.
Haswell holds knowledge in a number of fields, including podiatry, social care and education, and she has a special interest in long-term conditions and learning difficulties.
She has “experience of accessing rural Shetland primary care as well as secondary care within Shetland and Grampian Health Board”.
Cornick has worked in the legal sector for over 15 years, mainly in accounts and executries.
However, she has been involved in voluntary children’s work for eight years and was also appointed as treasurer to the Shetland Aid Trust.
The appointments come at a time when the local health board faces an urgent need to balance its books.
NHS Shetland Ian Kinniburgh told BBC Radio Shetland that he feels the new recruits will be committed to the cause, despite a high turnaround of board members in recent years.
Andy Glen also recently left the board after taking up a new job as vice-principal at Dumfries and Galloway College, while Catriona Waddington has also left.
Cornick will replace Malcolm Bell, who is leaving his non-executive role in January, but he will remain on the board as an SIC stakeholder member. Another non-executive vacancy will be recruited next year when Marjorie Williamson comes to the end of her second term.
“They went through a fairly extensive application and interview process and they clearly articulated what’s required of them. They appear to really understand that,” Kinniburgh said.
“What a really good non-executive does is puts in a lot of work reading the reports, understanding the context that we’re working in, then asks intelligent, searching, challenging questions in committees and board meetings. It’s there to do that scrutiny.”
Morton confirmed his resignation earlier this week, not long after the controversial closure of the Ronas Ward at the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick.
The broadcaster said he felt Shetland is facing a “major crisis in health provision” and is seeing its level of care reduce due to Scottish Government policy.
“It has been made clear to me that, as a board member, it is my duty to reflect and help enact the policies of the Scottish Government as regards health provision,” he said.
“As these policies seem to involve an inevitable diminishing in scale and quality of health care, and take little or no account of the particular needs of the Shetland community, I felt I could not support forcing them on Shetland.”
Morton added that the Integration Joint Board (IJB), which merges the NHS and Shetland Islands Council in health and social care, is causing “serious problems” financially and in terms of relationships with the local authority.
Former councillor Gary Cleaver resigned from the IJB in January as he criticised the NHS’ “inability to change”, while ex-IJB chairman Cecil Smith said earlier this year that he wouldn’t return to the board due to “personality clashes”.
“We are facing a major crisis in health provision for Shetland, with increasing staff shortages, senior clinical posts unfilled, endless recruitment difficulties haphazardly addressed, and an obsession with ‘balancing the books’ which in my opinion has led to a fiscal, rather than clinical set of priorities,” Morton continued.
“Bluntly, the board should stop crawling to the health civil servants in Edinburgh, tell them to recognise the particular needs of this community, and demand more money and logistical help.
“The councillors on the IJB must recognise that they are the only voting members accountable to the Shetland people. The health board representatives are there to enact government policy.”
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