Highlands & Islands

New consultation on redesign of Caithness health services

NHS Highland is to spend up to 15 months consulting with communities in Caithness on options for how health services should be delivered locally.

The health board wants to redesign Caithness' health and social care services, including hospital provision.

Campaigners in Caithness had been calling on the health board to abandon planned redesigns and instead enhance existing levels of services.

NHS Highland has agreed to begin its redesign process from a "fresh start".

But it said the shape of health services in the area would still require "innovative and ambitious" changes to meet demands and challenges over the next 10 to 20 years.

Campaign group Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT) said it continued to have concerns about the health board's plans.

NHS Highland is facing a potential overspend of more than £19m this year, of which £3.4m involves providing services to Caithness.

CHAT's chairman Bill Fernie told BBC Alba that the financial situation could "prejudice" the outcome of the renewed redesign process.

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