Keep Shetland NHS Patients Flying

On 14 March 2017 the board of NHS Shetland changed the arrangement for patient travel to and from Aberdeen. Instead of offering patients a choice of travelling by ferry or air, NHS Shetland now expects some patients to travel by return ferry.

If a patient wishes to fly to Aberdeen for appointments / treatment, they will be responsible for booking and initially paying for their own flight before being reimbursed the difference between the cost of ferry vs air.

Patients will also be expected to book and pay for the more expensive fully flexible fare and will not be able to use their 50% Air Discount Scheme facility.

Many will not be able to afford to pay for air travel in advance and many older citizens within Shetland may not even have the ability to book direct via the Internet.

For most Shetland residents this will mean a minimum travel time of 37 hours plus travel time to / from the ferry. Those that live on offshore islands like Fair Isle, Foula, Out Skerries, Unst, Yell and Fetlar can expect travel duration well in excess of 40 hours - probably much longer.

The resulting implications of taking time off from employment, childcare provision, carer cover and the associated vagaries of inter-island travel within Shetland to / from the ferry port have not been fully considered or acknowledged.

In a document published HERE one of the aims of the NHS Shetland Board is:

"to deliver sustainable high quality, local health and care services, that are suited to the needs of the population".

There is no disputing the fact that NHS staff and the service they provide here in Shetland is among the best in Scotland. However, we request that the Shetland NHS Board reconsiders their decision regarding patient travel for the welfare of all current and future NHS patients who reside in Shetland.

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Chairman, NHS Shetland Board
    Mr Ian Kinniburgh


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