Raigmore Hospital 'desperately needs' to be replaced, campaigner warns

Kirsteen Campbell said a new teaching hospital would help tackle staff shortages and improve services in the region.

Public petition gathers steam amid calls for ‘desperate’ need to replace Raigmore Hospital in Inverness Google Maps

A health campaigner say a new hospital is “desperately needed” for the Highlands following a campaign to replace Raigmore.

A public petition has begun garnering signatures in support of a new general acute teaching hospital for the Highlands at Raigmore.

Conservative MSP Edward Mountain said a new hospital would help meet rising demand and offer specialist services to patients.

But Humza Yousaf earlier confirmed there were no plans to replace Raigmore after previously admitting the hospital needed “significant investment.”

Kirsteen Campbell, who is chair of the North Highland Women’s Wellness Hub, has backed calls for a modern replacement.

Kirsteen Campbell said a modern facility would improve healthcare staffing issues in the region

She told STV News: “I’ve said for a very long time now – Inverness was one of the fastest growing cities.

“We had one hospital built in the 1980s well past its time. If you look at other cities, there’s an average of two to three hospitals.

“We desperately need that in the Highlands. I think it could have so much potential.

“There needs to be a new facility – and for it to go back to teaching would be amazing.”

Ms Campbell said the issue may help tackle recruitment issues faced by the health service in the north of Scotland.

She added: “We do need staff, that’s one thing. We are struggling to keep staff in the Highlands.

“It’s always the same plea; don’t forget about us in rural areas.

“We desperately need to see some changes. Hopefully a few years down the line we will see some improvements.

“Healthcare is vital for us all. You never know when something is going to go wrong and you’ll need those services yourself.

“It needs to be good and well staffed. Be a voice for yourself. We get better in life when we advocate for ourselves.”

Yousaf told STV News the government were seeking ways to support and invest in Raigmore Hospital, after £9m was invested in its maternity services.

He addded: “In a time when we have really finite capital resources – finite resources full stop actually – we’ve got to make sure we’re targeting the places that need it the most.”

However, Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain, who launched the petition, said a stronger commitment is needed.

He said: “Raigmore is bursting at the seams. We’ve squeezed more and more into a site developed more than 40 years ago and it can’t take anymore.

“It needs a new site with a hub and spoke regime to link our local hospitals with the new Raigmore, which we desperately need.

“The reality of Raigmore is that too much has been done to too small an area.

“We’ve got the surgeons, theatres and the new treatment centre but not enough beds. They could do a lot more operations but they can’t because they can’t put them in beds.

“It’s completely unacceptable to send patients to Perth, Dundee and Aberdeen, we should be able to treat them in the Highlands. It’s nonsensical.”

Highlands MSP Edward Mountain has launched the petition

Meanwhile, a further investment of £48.6m has been spent on the new Highland National Treatment Centre in Inverness.

The hospital will specialise in eye care and orthopaedics, including knee and hip replacements.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have invested £48m in NHS Highland’s National Treatment Centre, which opened on the Inverness campus last month.

“It will help reduce waiting times for patients undergoing orthopaedic and ophthalmology procedures such as hip replacements and cataract surgery.

“This follows the Scottish Government’s investment of over £40m in two community hospitals in Badenoch and Strathspey and Skye, Lochalsh, and South West Ross, which both opened last year.

“We continue to work closely with NHS Highland to identify the best way forward for health infrastructure in the area.”

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