HEALTH service staff in Caithness are being “demoralised and demonised” while continuing to deliver local services, it was claimed yesterday.
Linda Bremner, a health and education campaigner who has been closely associated with the health service for 20 years, says she is horrified at some of the comments being made online.
She insists “there must be a change or we will stand to lose much more than we will ever gain”.
Ms Bremner, who spoke to several people working in the health service locally, said: “What can you say to someone who seems to all intents and purposes to be completely demoralised working within the NHS and not solely due to work or management issues? This feeling has also been brought about by members of the community who are claiming to support them, claiming to respect them.
“But the people who spoke to me do not feel supported or respected. They are considering their position not only within the NHS but within the community. Is this what we truly want to see locally.”
Ms Bremner said: “Members of the community are sitting on the sidelines pitching in with minimal knowledge. They are not living, eating, breathing, sleeping their work and caring for others. They do not consider working for the NHS as an integral part of their life.
“They are banging a drum for something realistically they will never achieve for whatever reason they perceive is right.
“Meantime, the staff who care are being demoralised and demonised in the same sentence while struggling on, delivering these services.
“I am horrified at the behaviour and comments of some online. Some of the comments have been passively directed at me.
“At times over the years I have been considered knowledgeable in NHS and education. Now, depending on who or what group you are representing, I speak tripe or words to that affect. We need a positive attitude and a willingness to accept there must be a change or we will stand to lose much more than we will ever gain.”
One staff member told her: “I now have a feeling of complete and utter incompetence within my job despite my four years of training and years of hard work.”
Another stated: “There seems to be an army sitting on Facebook clicking keyboard keys who now suddenly know better than those of us working in the job. I’d love to see how they actively support the staff.
Someone else commented: “Negative comments seem to spread faster and further than positive comments.”
Laura Menzies, the Caithness midwifery team lead, said “open constructive discussion” with members of the public and local representatives is welcome.
“This can only help to improve communication and mutual understanding of varying views without causing unnecessary angst for current and potential service users."