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News round-up / NHS has lowest absentee rate, catering contract, no changes to heating tariff, electric vehicles demand

Gilbert Bain Hospital. Photo: Shetland News

NHS SHETLAND has the lowest rate of absenteeism of all health boards in Scotland, according to a new statistical report published on Tuesday.

The Data Group for NHS Education for Scotland shows that the average absenteeism rate for 2019 and 2020 was just 3.6 per cent, a full percentage point lower than any other health board.

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With the first anniversary of the first local Covid case coming up next week, NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson said these latest figures demonstrated the sacrifices staff were prepared to make for the community.

“It has been challenging for everyone since that day last year but time and again I have watched how our staff have gone above and beyond to ensure we continue to meet the needs of our community; it has been humbling to be part of this,” he said.

“The NHS needs every cog in the wheel to work efficiently and to provide a top-class service – be it the person who answers the phone, mops the floor, runs errands or cares for someone in distress. Thank you to the NHS Shetland team for setting this remarkable example.”

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SSEN Transmission, the company which will build the 600MW subsea cable linking Shetland to the Scottish mainland, is encouraging local firms to bid for an upcoming contract to provide catering for the onshore construction team.  

The canteen contract could run for up to three years and would provide catering for between 100 and 150 staff, the company said.

Darren Main, project manager of the project’s principal contractor BAM Nutall Ltd, said: “The catering contract is an important part of our day to day staff welfare. We are delighted to be able to open this opportunity up to local business and look forward to seeing the response.”

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The contract opportunity follows the multi-million-pound contact awarded to Tulloch Developments last month for the cable installation civil engineering works.

To find out more about the potential business opportunities and register interest visit https://www.o4b-highlandsandislands.com/


THE COST of heating for those connected to the Lerwick district heating scheme will not go up in 2021/22, the board of Shetland Heat Energy and Power Ltd (SHEAP) has announced.

The company’s executive director Derek Leask: “We all know the community has had a difficult time through the Covid pandemic which has effected many families and businesses.

“Although we have also suffered an impact in terms of reduced sale of heat our board feel that we should try and support the community and our customers by holding our prices in these challenging times.”

Domestic tariffs are currently 6.9 pence per kilowatt/hour along with an annual standing charge.


IT LOOKS as though the growing trend of driving an electric vehicle (EV) is particularly popular in Shetland.

Data released by MoneySuperMarket shows that the number car insurance enquiries for electric vehicles had more than tripled in the isles from 2019 to 2020.

In the second half of 2020 1.66 per cent of all car insurance enquiries from Shetland were for electric vehicles, MoneySuperMarket said – three times the Scottish average of 0.57 per cent.

The company also said the EVs have the lowest average premiums – nearly £46 cheaper than petrol cars (£673.61) and nearly £60 cheaper than diesel (£682.82)

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