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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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On Monday 6th March, another public meeting was held in Stornoway Town Hall on the subject of the local Health Board. A motion was passed, expressing no confidence in the management of NHS Western Isles. I have previously posted extensively on the subject, but a broader perspective leaves me with a few conclusions to draw.

The local NHS Board has run up a deficit of £3m over a period of 4 years. This is nothing new within the NHS nationally, but quite a sum bearing in mind the small population of the Western Isles. Mismanagement is said to lie at the root of the problem; there are quite serious allegations of bullying and harassment, which require investigation. Trades unions are in on that act, having expressed disquiet to the Chairman of the Board.

At the end of the day, the Chairman is accountable to the Health Minister, in Holyrood (Scottish Executive). If it turns out that he is not doing his job properly, the Health Minister should call him to account. Alternatively, the local Member of the Scottish Parliament should press the Minister. It was rather strange to find an MSP for a different constituency asking the questions which the Western Isles MSP should have asked. It was very strange to find the Highlands & Islands MSP sitting in on a forum not related to his constituency. It was very strange hearing the Western Isles MSP calling for the Health Minister to be left alone. It should be his job to ask questions of the Minsiter about the NHS Board here in the Western Isles - not one of a neighbouring MSP.

Leaving that to one side, I have always felt that it was the staff that keeps the creaking old NHS going. Once you lose the staff, everything is lost. This point was actually made at a recent meeting of the Health Board, and one that the management of the Health Board seems to have lost sight of. In spite of several board members raising concerns about staff morale, and the fact that the staff appear to be withdrawing from involvement in implementing necessary changes. Because any opposition, criticism, feedback is met by bullying and harassment.

I'll continue to follow developments.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 18:18

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