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NHS Western Isles has received notice from Barra Medical Practice of the intention to withdraw from the provision of medical cover to St Brendan’s Hospital in Castlebay and the out-of-hours GP service. This change will take effect from April 1, 2021.  

Barra Medical Practice has provided these ‘Local Enhanced Services’ for many years, and the service has most recently been provided for a number of years by the Medical Practice’s two Principal GPs.   

NHS Western Isles would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Practice and GPs for their longstanding commitment and contribution to out-of-hours and hospital medical services on Barra and Vatersay. The service has provided high quality, focused care for the local population and the many visitors to the Islands.  

There will be no change to the daytime GP Practice service, which will continue to be provided by Barra Medical Practice.  

This decision means that NHS Western Isles will have to consider potential options for the provision of hospital cover and out-of-hours services for the population of Barra and Vatersay, both in the short and longer term. ​ 

NHS Western Isles considers that this change presents an opportunity to redesign and maintain the high quality, patient centred and modern needs-led service for the local population. We will be engaging with partners and the local community as this work progresses.  Delivery of safe and effective healthcare will be maintained during any transition period.  

Longer term options will be developed over the coming weeks in close collaboration with partners and the local community.  

NHS Western Isles Medical Director, Dr Frank McAuley, said: “Whilst the overall service profile for Barra and Vatersay residents is not changing, how that profile is efficiently and effectively developed is the subject of our considerations.”