Health Srevices, Western Isles.

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland. – in the House of Commons on 27th March 1934.

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Photo of Mr Thomas Ramsay Mr Thomas Ramsay , Na h-Eileanan an Iar


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that there are no hospitals, nursing, or maternity homes in the islands of Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, and Barra, or the smaller islands adjacent thereto, with the exception of a casual sick house in Harris; is he aware that the medical services for the said islands are performed by visiting doctors and nurses; and will he state what provision is made for sudden and serious illnesses, accidents, and maternity cases in these islands?

Photo of Mr Archibald Skelton Mr Archibald Skelton , Combined Scottish Universities

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The medical and nursing services are provided by doctors and nurses actually resident on the islands named. As regards the last part of the question, arrangements are made wherever practicable for the removal of patients from Harris to the hospital at Stornoway, and from the other islands named either to Oban or Glasgow. Cases from Benbecula are sometimes treated in the private hospitals on South Uist. The doctor at Benbecula was specially selected for appointment because of his surgical knowledge and experience. In urgent cases, as an alternative to the removal of the patient, the surgeon from Stornoway, accompanied if need be by a nurse, may travel to his home.

Photo of Mr Thomas Ramsay Mr Thomas Ramsay , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that with seas too rough for small boats, and with no large coastal boat available at the time, a patient becoming suddenly ill in North Uist would require to be conveyed over the island by car, over the four-mile north ford by open boat or pony and trap, over Benbecula by car, over the one-mile south ford by open boat or pony and trap, and finally over the island of South Uist to the hospital by car?