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SNP Candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has called for action by NHS Western Isles to reassure people in the Isle of Barra about the long-term future of their GP service.

Alasdair Allan, who has raised the issue a number of times of late as MSP with the Health Board, expressed concern to ensure that voices in Barra were listened to, both about out-of-hours cover and more generally the recruitment of GPs in the longer term.

He was joined by local SNP councillor Donald Manford, who supported efforts to seek clarity from NHS Western Isles on this issue.

Alasdair Allan commented: “Given the Isle of Barra’s location, and the fact it has its own hospital, it is essential that people on the island have access to a doctor, including an out-of-hours service. I am aware of the concerns that have been expressed within the community about this, and have previously raised these as MSP with the Health Boa

“For me, the priorities now must be for NHS Western Isles to consult with people in Barra and Vatersay to lay out a clearer picture of what the service will look like in the future. Barra is not near any other community – a doctor cannot come in quickly from anywhere else, other than by air ambulance. I believe that some kind of out-of-hours cover has to be provided, and a long term solution found that will ensure the local practice is able to recruit permanent GPs, rather than rely on hugely-expensive locums.”

Councillor Donald Manford commented: “It remains unexplained why significantly more costly locum hospital cover was preferred to the local practice. The impact this decision will have on the GP practice’s ability to recruit is of critical concern.”

Name of Candidate

Description of Candidate

ALLAN, Alasdair James

Scottish National Party (SNP)


The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

FRASER, Shaun Alexander

Scottish Labour Party




Scottish Liberal Democrats