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Women's wellbeing hub keen to ensure 'care moves in right direction'

By Alan Hendry

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Kirsteen Campbell and Rebecca Wymer of North Highland Women’s Wellbeing Hub.
Kirsteen Campbell and Rebecca Wymer of North Highland Women’s Wellbeing Hub.

Caithness healthcare campaigners have promised to keep working closely with NHS Highland "to ensure that care moves in the right direction" for women in the far north.

North Highland Women’s Wellbeing Hub (NHWWH) held its first virtual round-table meeting on Tuesday to discuss how women's health services can be improved. It also marked the hub's first birthday.

Representatives from a wide range of authorities, campaign groups and other organisations took part, although hub members said they were disappointed that neither Pam Garbe (rural general hospital manager at Caithness General Hospital), Pam Dudek (NHS Highland chief executive) nor any NHS Highland board member were present.

A member of the NHS Highland gynaecology team was in attendance, however, and "her input was very much appreciated", according to NHWWH vice-chairperson Rebecca Wymer. "We had nurse practitioners and GP input too, allowing for voices from primary and secondary care settings."

Organisations represented were Caithness Health Action Team, Endo SOS, Making Rights Real, Highland Council, NHS Scotland, Dounreay, Caithness Chamber of Commerce, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Caithness Voluntary Group, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Home-Start, the Scottish Women's Budget Group, the Scottish Ambulance Service, the Scottish Women's Convention and the Scottish and UK parliaments.

Ms Wymer said: "We are so grateful for their attendance."

The meeting covered human rights breaches, geographical access, scanning and diagnostics, beds and staffing, financial and socio-economic impacts and "the future and how that should look".

NHWWH says it is looking forward to the outcome of an equality impact assessment for Caithness gynaecology and also a wider review of the NHS Highland gynaecology service, with a report due this autumn.

Ms Wymer said: "Although sceptical about the outcome of these reviews, we will continue to work closely with NHS Highland to ensure that care moves in the right direction for the women of the north."

Members of the public can watch the presentation on the hub's website (www.northhighlandwwh.com). NHWWH continues to provide peer support groups on Facebook.

A spokesperson for NHS Highland said: "We're pleased the group found the input from our gynaecology representative helpful. We are sorry that a member of the senior management team was unable to be in attendance on this occasion.

"We are committed to continuing to engage with the North Highland Women's Wellbeing Hub and will always try to attend meetings where schedules allow."

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