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Launch of Western Isles Patient Escort Petition

Friday 14th December 2018 saw the launch of a community petition to the Scottish Parliament Health Minister and Western Isles Health Board over the recent changes to the Patient Escort Policy.

The Western Isles Health Board have recently implemented stricter controls as to who is eligible to have an escort approved when attending hospital appointments on the mainland. This has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of families who are having to pay to have a loved one assist them to an appointment. Often this can be an appointment to be told life-altering news, which will result in several more appointments to the mainland, and may lead to loss of earnings and increased costs for the household. The recent changes implemented by the WI Health Board has resulted in many more refusals for patients’ escort requests and delays to decision making, all of which causes undue stress, anxiety and general upset for patients and their families at a time when travel should be the least of their worries. As a collective group of support organisations we have met with the WI Health Board several times to try and explain the concern raised by many patients and to try and influence WI Health Board representatives that these changes are not demonstrating “the best at what we do” and do not offer any patients and their families compassion and support for circumstances which are beyond their control. At a time when the provision of care services in the Western Isles Hospitals are depleting, many more appointments are being made on the mainland, forcing travel. We urge the Health Minister to intervene in this situation and ask the WI Health Board to implement the suggested changes above. All residents in the Western Isles are conscious of budget cuts and the need to save money, but until such at time as services are available to patients locally, there needs to be an adequate system in place to support families to travel to the mainland.

You can access the petition online here or find it in many of the shops and businesses across the Western Isles.

For updates on the petition, please see our Facebook Page