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Health / New healthcare facility proposed for Bressay

The Lerwick-Bressay ferry terminal. Photo: Shetland News/Neil Riddell.
The Lerwick-Bressay ferry terminal. Photo: Shetland News.

A NEW healthcare facility has been proposed for Bressay which could be used for appointments as well as video consultations.

People on the island, which has not had a resident nurse since July 2017, have been given a chance to have their say on the new proposed model of care.

Once all of the comments have been received, a draft paper will be presented to Shetland’s health and social care partnership integration joint board in September for approval.

The proposed new healthcare facility would be used for range of services, such as healthcare appointments, clinics like flu immunisations and health improvement activities in areas such as smoking cessation and weight management.

It would also house equipment to enable islanders to use the Attend Anywhere video conferencing facility for consultation appointments with staff in Shetland and on the Scottish mainland.

Over the last 18 months Bressay Community Council and Shetland’s health and social care partnership have jointly sponsored a project to explore the health and care needs of people on the island.

A resident nurse previously provided 24/7 access to healthcare, but “challenges have been experienced with the viability of this service due to changes in professional practice, what services need to be delivered and wider society expectations”.

In the interim period the health and care needs of the community have been met by visiting services provided from Lerwick, an increased use of NHS 24 and visits to the Lerwick Health Centre.

It is anticipated, meanwhile, that in the coming weeks a first responder service will be established in Bressay.

This would provide initial support for any emergencies which occur in Bressay during evenings and at weekends.

Bressay Community Council chairman Alistair Christie-Henry said: “Over the last few years the Bressay Community has become increasingly aware that the service of a dedicated resident health professional, able to continue to work as their predecessors did, has become untenable.

“The community council engaged with the health and social care partnership to find the best way to support present needs and deliver future services. This has involved finding out what is presently required, anticipating future needs, understanding what is presently available and publicising this to the community.

“Additionally we have looked at how we can make changes to enhance service delivery and reduce the costs in accessing health care for our residents.

“It has been a worthwhile and enlightening exercise. Through joint working and close co-operating we developed a model promoting common understanding and shared responsibility that I would recommend to other community councils.”

Chief community nurse Edna Mary Watson, who led the project team, thanked the community for its “time, energy and enthusiasm” for the scheme.

The outcome of the consultation, meanwhile, will be published in due course.