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Lochalsh renal patients to benefit from Skye dialysis service on Skye as campaign by Kate Forbes MSP brings assusrances from NHS Highland


By Hector MacKenzie

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Kate Forbes: Welcome development after two years of campaigning.
Kate Forbes: Welcome development after two years of campaigning.

After a two year campaign, Kate Forbes MSP has welcomed fresh assurances from NHS Highland that a new renal dialysis service on Skye will be “ready for patients in December”.

Currently five patients are travelling three-days-a-week from their homes in the Skye and Lochalsh area to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, which Ms Forbes has previously described as “intolerable”.

“My heart goes out to the patients who’ve had to travel to Inverness for dialysis for so long. It’s a long, uncomfortable journey and they have been waiting in hope that facilities are provided on Skye."

The health board is making internal alterations to the day room at the MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford to facilitate the new service.

Last year the health board’s previous chief executive Iain Stewart said he had hoped the new service would “start by April 2020”, but recruitment and training issues along with the Covid pandemic delayed this.

But earlier this week Paul Hawkins, the outgoing chief executive of NHS Highland, wrote to the Skye and Lochalsh constituency MSP with an update as she continued to press the case for her constituents.

In his letter, Mr Hawkins said: “Covid-19 pressures within the hospital along with difficulties in staff recruitment to the new renal jobs have caused delays in opening a renal dialysis unit in Skye and Lochalsh.

“I can now confirm that recruitment has been successful and building works are due to commence shortly. We anticipate being ready for patients in December 2020. I know this is somewhat later than originally planned but am sure this will be a welcome development for patients from the area.”

Kate Forbes said: “My heart goes out to the patients who’ve had to travel to Inverness for dialysis for so long. It’s a long, uncomfortable journey and they have been waiting in hope that facilities are provided on Skye.

“I know the most recent setback, due to recruitment issues and Covid, left many disappointed. I hope the progress made will give hope that these patients and their families will have an easier journey to get to dialysis.”

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