This week’s Caithness Courier carries criticism from a former GP of plans by Highland Health Authority to discontinue 24 hour minor injuries A&E at the Dunbar Hospital in Thurso.
Anthony Page, who worked as a doctor at Thurso’s Princes Street surgery between 2002 and 2006, described the unit as “an accessible and invaluable resource” for people living in west Caithness and argued that closure in the evenings would be “a very false economy”.
Dr Page, of Shebster, who is opposed to moves to change the round-the-clock cover at the minor injuries unit at the Dunbar to help save money, made his views known in a letter to Pauline Craw, the locality general manager for the North Highland Community Health Partnership (Caithness) and is involved in the West Caithness Reference Group.
He wrote to Mrs Craw six weeks ago but so far has received no reply.
Dr Page said was very disappointed he has had no response to his letter, especially as health bosses said they wanted to consult with local people and get their views.
“I feel well placed to comment on the Dunbar Hospital, having worked there by day and night as a GP, having been an inpatient on two occasions and used the X-ray, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and outpatient departments myself.
“I found the standard of care to be excellent throughout.” He claimed it would be a great mistake to close the unit at night in a bid to save money. To do that, he argued, would lead to an increase in the number of ambulances being called to get patients to the accident and emergency unit at Wick.
Thurso is the largest town north of Inverness, and it would be absurd not t have 24 hour cover in its hospital. This is made all the more obvious to me as a friend’s toddler son collapsed this week with meningitis, and was airlifted out of the county: although this took place during the day, the prospect of seeking out a duty GP or driving through to Wick is unimaginable.