Highlands & Islands

NHS Highland rural healthcare projects get funds

The Scottish government is to spend £1.5m on testing new ways of delivering healthcare in rural and remote parts of Scotland.

NHS Highland will use the money on projects in West Lochaber, mid Argyll and on Islay.

The health board is facing difficulties in recruiting GPs to West Lochaber.

Last week, it emerged that it has had to re-advertise for seven doctors to provide cover in the sparsely populated area of the west Highlands.

A new model of care being developed at Campbeltown Community Hospital involves the community hospital and three local GP practices providing care at all times of the day.

It is hoped to replicate the set up to benefit patients in mid Argyll.

Health Minister Michael Matheson announced the funding during a visit to the hospital.

He said it has become increasingly difficult to recruit and retain health and care professionals to the traditional models of providing healthcare in remote areas.

Mr Matheson added: "Today I met with a range of healthcare staff and patients from Campbeltown to hear first-hand about the challenges they are facing, and how the new approach they are developing in their local area will benefit patients.

"I would expect this to have relevance not only for other remote areas in Scotland, but that it will inform new models for testing in urban areas as well."

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