Local News for Wednesday 1st November 2017

More quitters this year
There have been more successful attempts to give up smoking in the Western Isles than ever before this year, with the highest percentage increase of successful quit attempts. In the latest year’s figures, the number of people who stayed off the smokes at 12 weeks stood at 55%, significantly higher than the overall Scottish figure. There was also a significant performance improvement of 136% in the Western Isles. Colin Gilmour, Head of Health Improvement at NHS Western Isles, said: “Each quitter has their own reason and our service aims to provide them with a high quality, sensitive and tailored package of support.” Evidence shows that you are four times more likely to quit using specialist support and Smokefree Hebrides can be contacted on (01851) 701623

Too far to go for dental care – MSP
Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant says a decision to close dental clinics in the Uists is wrong and will be potentially damaging to people’s oral health. The closure of the clinic in Lochboisdale in April, and the new decision to close clinics in Lochmaddy and Liniclate and centralise services in Benbecula, means that people could be forced to make 60 mile round trips for treatment. Mrs Grant believes this could result in people not having the time, or the money, to make these trips and that oral health will suffer as a result. She said “This is a wrong decision. Rural healthcare services are being cut all over the north and it simply has to stop. NHS boards in rural areas are being forced into making impossible decisions in a bid to balance the books. But these decisions will impact on the health of the nation. Before it was closed, Lochboisdale Dental Surgery started Childsmile Week which is now being adopted by other health boards and resulted in NHS Western Isles becoming joint top in Scotland for children’s dental health. To now potentially lose this top spot is a retrograde step. I am pleased to see that Alasdair Allan MSP has now voiced his concern about the somewhat late consultation which appears to now be taking place. After a weekend of protests in the north against the removal of rural health services, I would welcome Dr Allan’s help in bringing this matter again to the attention of his colleague, health minister Shona Robison.”

New Chief Exec for Taigh Chearsabhagh
A new Chief Executive has been recruited to lead on the development of an arts and heritage programme in North Uist. Jane Morrison-Ross joins the team at Taigh Chearsabhagh after moving from the Isle of Cumbrae to Lochmaddy, with her husband David and three young boys. The three year Chief Executive post is jointly funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Jane said: “This is an exciting time to join the team and I also believe that Gaelic culture gives us a rich resource to draw on which differentiates us and will open up new Scottish and international opportunities. I look forward to developing our ambitious plans and working with the team here to develop the centre for the benefit of the local community as well as visitors who come from all over the world.”