David Stewart

Labour MSP offers to meet Thurso patient after emotional plea

Scottish Labour’s shadow health minister, MSP David Stewart, is offering to meet the Thurso 79-year-old who made an emotional video appeal about her long journeys for hospital appointments in Inverness.

Mr Stewart, who represents the Highlands and Islands, was touched by the case which has received tens of thousands of views since it was released on a campaign website at the weekend.

Dorothy Anderson appealed to NHS Highland Chief Executive, Elaine Mead, Health Secretary, Shona Robison, and First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, asking if they would let their mother or a granny take the 200-mile return journey to Raigmore Hospital.

She said that it was “just too far” to travel, pointing out the four-and-a-half-hour journey by train each way and possible problems with the bus. She invited all three to come and see her to have a chat.

“It is a very moving appeal and brings home the strength of feeling in the community about the lack of health services in Caithness and the distance travelled for short appointments which can often only last a number of minutes,” commented Mr Stewart.

“I am more than happy to pop in to see Dorothy and have that cup of tea and a chat.”

Mr Stewart has also contacted NHS Highland to ask if patients such as Ms Anderson can be seen in Caithness with the aid of video links or help from local GPs.

“The health service needs more than sticking plaster solutions. It needs a plan for long term real change,” added Mr Stewart.

On 7th February, Mr Stewart’s Highlands and Islands Labour colleague, Rhoda Grant, met with CHAT, Caithness Health Action Team, other MSPs the Chair and Chief Executive of NHS Highland and the Health Secretary in the Scottish Parliament where Ms Anderson’s video was shown by the action team.

Mrs Grant had previously appealed to Ms Robison to visit CHAT members in Caithness to experience the journeys that patients travel on a regular basis but the meeting was held in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.