NHS SHETLAND is developing its travel vaccination service over the next few months to “improve access” and cut queues for vaccination.
Chief executive Ralph Roberts encouraged travellers to contact the service as early as possible to give enough time to arrange necessary vaccinations.
He was responding to criticism from Shetland MSP Tavish Scott, who claimed that people had “waited months” for injections and had “faced funding” a trip to Aberdeen to get their jabs.
The improved vaccination service is supposed to be up and running by 1 May.
Roberts said: “NHS Shetland has recognised for some time that the access to travel vaccinations for the local community needed to be developed. We are pleased that we have been able to identify ways to develop the service over the next few months and this will improve access.
“We would encourage anyone who thinks they may need travel vaccinations or advice to contact the service as early as possible so that there is plenty of time to arrange the necessary vaccinations or medication. Individuals should also note that the provision of travel vaccinations will incur a fee since this is not part of the normal NHS service.”
According to Scott only one nurse is allocated to provide travel vaccinations for Shetland as it is not a core health service provision.
The MSP said: “I have been contacted by constituents worried they will miss their holidays because of these delays.
“Shetlanders are waiting months to hear anything back from the clinic and are facing further waits before they get an appointment. It is unacceptable that some face having to travel south to just to get these vital injections so they can make their holidays.
“I met with the health secretary to discuss the situation. She told me that a new service with more trained nurses would be operational in May. I will be making sure that there will be a real improvement in waiting times and patient service. It is simply not acceptable that people living in Shetland would have to fund a trip to Aberdeen to get a holiday injection.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 500 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News