Contact us on 01851 705743 or

The Western Isles NHS has today (Wednesday December 21) publicly named the Western Isles-based newspaper which it attacked earlier in the week for negative reporting.

NHSWI claims there has already been a negative impact on medical staffing on Barra as a direct result of recent adverse publicity in a local newspaper.

The earlier response was posted on the NHSWI Facebook Page - but the new counterblast has been emailed to more than 80 journalists, TV and radio stations, and newspapers throughout Scotland.

The NHSWI says that a returning and well-respected locum GP who was due to cover a lengthy shift on Barra next month has today withdrawn from providing cover.

The GP stated: “It is with regret that I will be withdrawing my offer of service for GP provision for January. This is in direct response to the article published by Stornoway Gazette and related FOI request.

“As you know, I am a permanent GP elsewhere and travelling to Barra with my young family has to fit in amongst this work. It is a valuable and privileged experience as a doctor to broaden our horizon and work with new patients and systems. Often this is what captures us and encourages us to relocate and take on the challenge of working in a new place.

“Sadly, articles like this are inflammatory and give the impression that 'locum doctors' are an unwanted resource.

"We all want a permanent workable healthcare solution on Barra but there will always be an interim and transition phase.

"I would suggest that it would be more beneficial to highlight the many positive attributes of the island and people who live there in order to attract long-term staff.
“I really apologise for the inconvenience this will cause to you and your patient population.”

NHS Western Isles say they are iextremely disappointed about this regrettable situation – however, they are not surprised that the current negativity has directly resulted in this position.

"We will be taking steps immediately to cover the gaps in the rota to ensure continued medical provision on Barra. It is sincerely hoped that there is no further impact on the willingness of locum medical staff to cover shifts on Barra and that there will be no impact on permanent recruitment in due course."

The initial criticism was reported here –