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Also in the news / MRI scanner, assisted dying, worker’s memorial day, NHS petition and more …

NHS SHETLAND’s new MRI scanner is expected to arrive in the isles in May, a meeting of health board heard on Tuesday morning.

The scanner should be up and running by later summer, according to Kathleen Carolan, the health board’s director of nursing and acute services.

Almost £2 million were raised through the Shetland MRI scanner appeal, with the total cost of bringing the new facility to Shetland and housing it in the Gilbert Bain Hospital costing around £3.5 million.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

ISLES MP Alistair Carmichael has spoken in parliament on the need for greater discussion on the development of legislation on assisted dying.

Last month his party colleague, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur, published his Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill.

The aim of the bill is to enable mentally competent adults with an advanced, progressive terminal illness to be provided with assistance to end their life at their request.

Similar legislation is being considered in the Isle of Man and in the Channel Islands.

The MP said: “We need to have a proper, transparent debate on this issue – it is not going away. Personally, I think it should not be impossible to get sufficient safeguards in place and independent monitoring so that those safeguards are properly implemented.

“We need a recognition that, because we have a public policy of not prosecuting people for pursuing assisted dying elsewhere, it has already been effectively legalised for those who have the resources to travel to Switzerland.

“Proper palliative care has to be part of the solution as well – we cannot have one without the other.”

HIGHLANDS and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has vowed to support local woman Joyce Davies in her campaign to have a memorial stone dedicated to those who have died at work established in Lerwick.

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Scottish Hazards campaigner Joyce Davies

The SNP parliamentarian was in the isles during the weekend and joined Davies and others marking International Worker’s Memorial Day on Sunday, 28 April.

She said: “Sunday was a beautiful day organised by Joyce who has been campaigning on this issue for many years, driven with such passion after losing her father at a young age.

“I look forward to continuing to work alongside Joyce, folk locally, Shetland Arts, and Scottish Hazards to support the recognition of the cause in the isles and for a Memorial Stone to be established in Lerwick – a place for folk to come and pay their respects and remember loved one.”

Joyce Davies, local campaigner for Scottish Hazards added: “Shetland Arts lit up our main Arts Centre, the Mareel, purple it was beautiful, even in the wind and rain.  They hosted the entire day which I am very thankful for.”

NHS Shetland has acknowledged receipt of a petition with 475 signatures requesting that Dr Esther Mitchell is reinstated at Levenwick Health Centre or allowed to apply for the vacancy her dismissal has created.

In a brief statement at Tuesday’s health board meeting NHS Shetland chair Gary Robinson said he was unable to comment on the individual circumstances regarding staff.

He said: “We acknowledge that there are many people who have taken the opportunity to express their concern about the provision of healthcare in the south mainland, and would like to thank you all for the feedback.

“I would however wish to assure you that we are monitoring access to clinical appointments and reviewing staffing levels both at Levenwick following the rapid transition to being a Board managed practice, and across all our primary care sites.”

An online petition calling for the re-statement of the GP had been started by residents in the south mainland earlier this year.

Noss national nature reserve is to re-open on Wednesday 1 May. Photo: Lorne Gill/NatureScot

NOSS National Nature Reserve (NNR) will reopen to the public again tomorrow (Wednesday) with a new-look visitor centre.

This year, biosecurity measures introduced in the wake of the avian flu outbreak that swept through Shetland’s great skua (bonxie) and gannet colonies in 2022 will remain in place to continue to protect seabird populations.

Juan Brown, NatureScot operations officer in Shetland said: “While we are hopeful this will be a better year for the Noss seabirds, our census shows the heavy toll avian flu has already taken on our bonxie and gannet populations.

“It’s important that we remain vigilant and that’s why we’ll continue to keep biosecurity measures in place at Noss and our other island NNRs as a safeguard.”

Visitors are encouraged to ring the Noss information line on 0800 1077818 after 8am on the day of travel to check for weather disruptions.


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