No 2 in a series of Gurn articles from tonight's Hydrotherapy Pool campaign meeting (09/07/2015) First article here.
Alastair MacGregor, the chairman of the Hydrotherapy Trust opened the meeting. He said that a number of apologies had been received (including MSPs) he said that the number of apologies were so extensive that he didn’t mention them all. He went on to say that NHS Highland had declined their invitation which was rather sad.
He started with a brief history of the pool:
“Nairn Hydrotherapy Trust operates the Nairn Hydroptherapy Pool, obviously on everyone’s behalf here who use it and the trust is a registered charity. It’s a resident independent charity, we’re not beholden to the NHS or anybody else and it was set up by the community of Nairn in 1984 and 1985. That trust was set up to build and run the Hydrotherapy Pool in the area for the benefit of Nairn and everybody in the Highlands because that was something that did not exist at the time in 1984 and 85.
That’s its history, it’s a totally independent organisation. It relies on people using it and obviously we welcome those to the hydrotherapy pool from the doctors, the GPs and NHS Highland. I’m sure a lot of you would rather not be here tonight, having to show to NHS Highland not only that the pool is a great asset to the area but also that it is something that many, many pool uses cannot do without. NHS Highland really must recognise patients needs and care and that should be NHS Highland’s prime priority. (applause).
It is very sad that I have to confirm that the previous contract with NHS
Highland which enabled the GPs to refer patients directly to the Hydrotherapy Pool for this special treatment was not renewed [...]NHS Highland, as you will hear later on, were far too busy to meet us between December 2014 and the first of April 2015. We tried but we never succeeded in getting meetings with them. Last December, my wife Jan and myself, and trustees of the pool and Mr Clive Murray here, we attended several meetings with NHS Highland and the Chief Operating Officer, Deborah Jones. We asked for and she confirmed in writing that we would be consulted between January and March 2015 about a new contract to run from the 1st of April 2015 when the existing one ran out. Unfortunately despite our best efforts no such consultation ever took place. NHS Highland then made a unilateral decision that has a very serious effect on patient needs and care. And here we are today with one task and that is to ensure that NHS Highland do not stop patients getting much needed hydrotherapy through their GPs. We must ensure that if a patient’s GP considers they need hydrotherapy then they must be allowed to have it.”
Alistair then invited Clive Murray, a friend of the pool, to expand on the background leading up to the meeting.