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Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Jeane Freeman has undertaken NHS Highland’s annual review.
Ms Freeman joined new NHS Highland chief executive Iain Stewart, interim chairman Professor Boyd Robertson and other senior members of the NHS Highland team to reflect on the health board’s successes and some of its challenges in the year to March 31.
Ms Freeman said: ‘I was pleased to be able to attend the annual review, and to meet patients and members of staff and hear their views. I would particularly like to thank all the staff for their hard work and dedication over the past year.
‘There is a new senior management team in place in Highland and this was an opportunity for me to hear about their plans to take the board forward and meet the challenges NHS Highland faces, and to continue to deliver an excellent level of care for everyone across the region.’
Professor Robertson said: ‘It is clear that there is a lot of excellent work being done by our people in NHS Highland. I am especially impressed by the many service redesign initiatives like NHS Near Me, which makes it easier for patients living in remote and rural parts of the Highlands to access appointments.
‘There have also been some welcome improvements in the way we are dealing with waiting times and, although there is more to be done, the trend is encouraging.
‘Utilising technology was a constant theme throughout the day and it’s reassuring that we’re leading the way in thinking outside of the box to deliver services to our patients.’
Mr Stewart added: ‘This is a time of change for NHS Highland. As we celebrate the very many examples of excellent health care delivered by our board over the past year, we also need to recognise that we are facing some considerable challenges in balancing the needs of such as large and diverse area with the financial and other resources available to us.
‘As we look to the future, we intend to focus upon delivering first-class care to all of our people in the Highlands and Argyll and Bute and, at the same time, balancing our books and making sure that everyone providing that care feels valued, respected and listened to.
‘Our geography presents us with unique challenges and it is encouraging to emphasise that innovation and research is at the heart of how we address these issues.
‘I would like to thank all of our 10,500 dedicated staff who work tirelessly day after day to deliver high-quality health and social care services. We are eternally grateful for their diligence and we are committed to supporting them to develop services across Highland.’