Friday, 2 December 2005

First Post

Stornoway Town Centre on Sunday afternoon

Hello everyone, this is my first blog entry on Island Blogging. My blog is called Arnish Lighthouse, and I hope to shed some light on issues that I am following in the Island of Lewis, the Western Isles generally and its capital - Stornoway. Oh, a note of warning: I am an avid weather observer, and record my observations on Metcheck.
As I am typing this, the Friday afternoon is turning into a dreich affair with occasional rain. I am located just across the water from the lighthouse. My view extends down the Minch, and on a clear day I can see right down the Little Minch as far as the Applecross Forest. Earlier this week, the snow covered all the mainland hills; Skye was shrouded in snowshowers, but I'm reliably informed that they had a lot of snow as well.
Events in the island are currently focused on the Western Isles Health Board (WIHB). Two meetings have taken place in Stornoway this Wednesday and Thursday, at which sparks flew. On Wednesday, nearly 1000 packed into the old Town Hall to air grievances against the Health Board. It would appear that relations between management and staff have deteriorated to such an extent that normal channels of communication have broken down. Staff have voiced grievances to local councillors, as the internal procedures for airing these are found to have led to reciprocal disciplinary action. Questions were asked at the meeting, which the local councillors (who chaired the meeting) promised to relay to the Health Board. I think it's a serious indictment of management when things go down to this sort of level.
The second meeting, last night, consisted of a presentation by WIHB of their plans for the future, followed by a question and answer session. The same questions were asked of the Chief Executive, who passed the job for replying on to one of his officials. The grievances uttered were not addressed.
Changes are needed all the time, particularly in the NHS (I have worked in the NHS for 7 years myself). Changemanagement is one of the most difficult things to do, and it would not appear that NHS Western Isles have done a terribly good job, so far.
I wish everybody good luck and wisdom, because it's everybody's health that's at stake.

I have made notes of both meetings in my other blog Northern Trip at the following locations:

Town Hall Meeting 30/11/05
WIHB Meeting 1/12/05

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