View Full Version : Fit's in 'e' Groat 'is week?

24-Feb-12, 11:07
John O’ Groat Journal review: February 24, 2012

CONTROVERSIAL plans for changes at the Dunbar Hospital in Thurso, have been scrapped and the NHS is now going back to the drawing board, the paper reveals in its front-page lead story. NHS Highland has vowed this week to take “a fresh approach” to determining what health service should be on offer in the west of the county. The North Highland Community Health Partnership (CHP) committee has endorsed the move to scrap the current range of options, which included moving palliative care services to nursing homes and cutting the opening hours of the minor injuries unit. The CHP provided guidance to the NHS management team on the next steps in the redesign process, at its meeting in Wick on Tuesday. North Highland CHP chairman Colin Punler said the committee had not been convinced the proposals put forward by the management would be better for patients.

INSIDE...A call for road signs in Caithness to include Old Norse translations has been branded “a nonsense”. Thurso Highland councillor John Rosie hit out at the idea which was mooted by Wick councillor, Gail Ross and SNP Landward Caithness candidate Alex Macleod. Mr Rosie said the money would be better spent filling in potholes on local roads, while his Landward Caithness colleague, David Flear, claimed the proposal is “stupid. However, the SNP pair argue their plan would highlight the county’s distinctive cultural history and be good for local tourism.

CALLS have been made by a local campaigner to remove every wind turbine from school grounds in Scotland, before a child is killed. Caithness Windfarm Information Forum secretary, Brenda Herrick, said that action needs to be taken and she described the erection of such structures at school as “sheer lunacy”. She welcomed the move by Highland councillors this week to call for risk assessments to be carried out for proposed turbines in Inverness and Nairn. Councillors raised concerns about pupils being struck by malfunctioning machines, and the fact that there was no reference to a fence or exclusion zone in either project.

ROME wasn’t built in a day, but a group of secondary schools pupils will be hoping they can create a masterpiece of music within the space of 12 hours. Thurso High school is preparing to take a massive “leap” in creative originality when it meets the challenging of producing its own opera and performing it in front of a capacity audience on Wednesday February 29. The challenge has been set by Create and Opera, part of Scottish Opera, which is running the event to provide youngsters in Caithness with the opportunity to get involved and discover music they may not be accustomed to.

MORE details have emerged over the conditions attached to plans for replacing the four primaries in Wick with two new purpose-built schools serving the north and south of the town. Road safety is now the top priority following a month-long investigation by Scottish education cabinet secretary, Michael Russell, which ended on Tuesday. Fears were sparked by a majority of parents at Hillhead Primary School, who were concerned that the documents contained an “exact copy” of a statement relating to a school in North Tayside. The Scottish government’s head of school infrastructure unit, Jonathan Moore laid down the extra rules in a letter to Highland Council’s director of education culture and sport, Hugh Fraser. Mr Moore said that the council is now require to draw up a comprehensive travel plan for all children attending the new facility and this will include a comprehensive set of safer routes to school.

IMPROVEMENTS to rail services in Caithness and Sutherland could result in journey times being shortened by up to half-an-hour. That was the view of Caithness Transport Forum chairman John Green who this week responded to the Scottish Government’s Rail 2014 Public consultation. The group believes that enhancing railway lines are vital, if attempts are to be successful in regenerating the North Highlands. The consultation document which was released in November puts forward the government’s vision of rail services in Scotland and caused anger in the Far North when there was no mention of any improvements being made between Wick and Inverness.

LOCAL MP John Thurso is “stamping” out dissent about changes to postage charges. Over the past few weeks, the Westminster representative has been at loggerheads with his Holyrood counterpart, Rob Gibson over media watchdog Ofcom’s proposed changes to stamp and delivery prices within Royal Mail. Once again this week, Mr Gibson accused the Lib Dems of “burying their heads in the sand” over the changes which would give the government-owned postal service freedom to set its own prices for the majority of its products. Mr Gibson said this could open the floodgates on postage pricing and allow Royal Mail to penalise rural areas with crippling postage costs. However, John Thurso said that this is not the case, as there will still be some form of universal service obligation-a guarantee of the same service to everyone in the county.