Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has written to NHS Orkney Chairman, Ian Kinniburgh, seeking “specific assurance that the role of NHS Orkney Chief Executive will not be diluted in way”.
The call follows a delay in advertising the post of NHS Orkney Chief Executive, following confirmation that Cathie Cowan will be leaving to take up a similar post with NHS Forth Valley. Responding to concerns, NHS Orkney Chairman, Ian Kinniburgh stated “We [NHS Orkney] need to be clear about where we are going.”
Mr McArthur therefore sought confirmation from the Health Secretary about the recruitment process. In response to his parliamentary question, the Health Secretary, Shona Robison said, “NHS Orkney is putting in place interim arrangements while proposals for the appointment of a new Chief Executive are developed.”
Concerned at what any new proposals might mean in practice, Mr McArthur has written to the Board’s Chairman asking for urgent clarification. In his letter to Mr Kinniburgh, Orkney’s MSP writes:
“I am writing to request a specific assurance that the role of NHS Orkney Chief Executive will not be diluted in way, for example through merging the role with another health board.
“As you will be well aware, this is already the case in relation to the shared chairmanship of NHS Orkney and Shetland, and Scottish Government proposals to review the number and make up of health boards across the country has only given rise to further anxiety locally. In those circumstances, a clear and unequivocal commitment to retaining the role and function of NHS Orkney Chief Executive would be welcome.
Mr McArthur adds:
“The future of local healthcare must reflect the distinct nature of healthcare provision in our island communities. I certainly welcome greater collaboration between health boards to ensure patients in Orkney get the treatment they need and deserve. However, I believe the unique needs of delivering healthcare in an island setting are best delivered with a dedicated NHS board with a dedicated Chief Executive.”