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Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 19:07 GMT
'No intervention' over health row
Nurses
Campaigners have accused the health board of mismanagement
First Minister Jack McConnell said he would not intervene in a row over the Western Isles health services.

There had been calls for the Scottish Executive to step in following claims that the health board was in crisis.

Campaigners said public confidence was collapsing after a series of cutbacks but the Western Isles health board said cuts would not affect patient care.

During a visit, Mr McConnell said health boards would receive an above inflation rise in their next budget.

It comes after a ward at the Isles' main hospital in Stornoway was closed to save money and some patients have been sent home at weekends.

Staff morale

Locum doctors have also been used instead of posts being permanently filled.

Health campaigners and politicians claimed the service was being mismanaged and that staff morale was falling.

Locals and councillors have called for an inquiry and senior officials from the Royal College of Nursing have been discussing their concerns about patient care with local representatives in Stornoway.

The health board has argued that, like other Scottish councils, it was restructuring its services and its actions would offset a potential deficit of 3m.

Last year the government split up the much-criticised Argyll and Clyde Health Board.


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