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Also in the news / Vaccination clinics, mobile theatre leaves, NHS pay dispute and more…

NHS SHETLAND is offering walk-in clinics for winter flu and Covid booster vaccinations for people born in 1958 during a four-day slot later this month.

Those eligible are asked to attend a clinic at the Gilbertson Park games hall in Lerwick on either Wednesday 19 October from 3pm to 4.30pm, 20 October between 4pm and 6pm, 21 October from 3pm to 4.30pm or on Saturday 22 October between the time of 9.30am to 12.30pm and 1pm to 4pm.

A spokesperson said: “Please only attend these walk-in sessions if you were born in 1958. We will be unable to accommodate anyone else at these times.

“We will advise when we have sessions available for other age groups.”

Meanwhile, anybody aged 65 and older who has not had an invitation for their vaccination is asked to contact the health board on 01595 743319 or via email

Screenshot: NHS Shetland

THE MOBILE operating theatre that has been a feature outside the Gilbert Bain Hospital for most of the year has now left Shetland.

Since January more than 500 operations have been undertaken in the unit by specialist visiting teams.

In addition, the mobile theatre has been used to support the hospital whilst work was ongoing to build a new ambulatory and day surgical unit which opened last month.

Director of nursing and acute services Kathleen Carolan said: “The arrival and installation of the mobile operating theatre meant we were able to offer a significant number of additional surgical treatments to patients in Shetland and Orkney, ensuring that people received treatment safely and quickly without having to travel to the mainland.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has made this possible and such a successful project.

“We are now looking at how we can maximise providing operations and other treatments in the new ambulatory and day surgical unit, including those that previously could only have been offered in Aberdeen.”

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MEANWHILE, health services could be affected by industrial action later this year should Unison members working for the NHS vote in favour of strike action.

The union has advised its members, including porters, nurses and catering staff, that talks with the Scottish Government have concluded without a significantly improved pay offer on the table.

Chair of Unison’s health committee Wilma Brown said: “I have written to all our NHS members (…) to urge them to vote for strike action. We are disappointed that talks did not make any progress (…) and that we are still so far apart.

“We are stressing to Unison members to make sure they return their strike ballot as soon as possible. We need to send a strong message to the Scottish government that NHS staff deserve a fair pay deal.”

Industrial action could take place from 28 November should the union receive a mandate from its members.

SCOTTISH Liberal Democrats have described some of the results of a resent household survey Highlands and Islands Enterprise as a “demographic time bomb”.

According to the survey almost half of young people are planning to move away from the Highlands and Islands over the next five years.

Several other problems were highlighted in the survey, including housing, access to healthcare and connectivity.

Household survey highlights investment needs

The party’s spokesperson for remote and rural communities and Highland councillor Molly Nolan said: “The Scottish Government has been consistently warned about this, but SNP and Green ministers have failed to act with the urgency required to support rural and remote communities.

“Now we are seeing the consequences of their inaction. It is unforgivable.

“Our Central Belt government is more than happy to point to our region as a tourist attraction, but when it comes to building basic infrastructure for the people who live here, ministers simply don’t want to know.”

SALMON producer Scottish Sea Farms, which employs almost 300 staff in Shetland, has announced that it will pay each employee an additional £750 in cost-of-living support.

October and November will each see £250 added to monthly salaries, with a break in December when the company traditionally rewards its employees with an end of year bonus, followed by a third payment of £250 in January 2023, the company said.

Managing director Jim Gallagher said the company had been looking closely at what more it could do to cushion the worst of the cost-of-living crisis.

“Across each area of our company, costs continue to rise to levels not previously seen before,” he said.

“The price of fish feed – one of our single largest outlays annually – has risen by 43 per cent this year alone. Over the same period, the cost of oil and diesel has increased by 71 per cent and utilities by 125 per cent.

“The pressure on household budgets is every bit as real and we hope that the extra monthly support will go some way towards helping our employees with rising household costs and bills, which have become a huge cause for concern.”

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