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A church on Tiree has been set up as a potential coronavirus ward.
Doctors on the island are hoping they never have to use Baugh Church, which has been equipped with a couple of hospital beds and supportive equipment such as oxygen, fluids and medicines.
The church is central to the island, just opposite the doctor’s surgery, and up until now has been used as a place of worship and a community hub.
The doctors behind the new ward said the island has limited medical staff so they are drawing up a list of volunteers who might be able to help keep it going if it is needed.
In particular, they are looking for people from carer or nursing backgrounds, but basically anyone who is keen to help and not in the ‘at risk’ group would be appreciated.
One of the doctors, speaking to The Oban Times on behalf of Tiree surgery, said: ‘The hope is that we never have to use it. If it stays empty then it’s been a success. Most of the resources we needed for the ward were not NHS specific. We already had a couple of hospital beds, the rest are camp beds. Businesses on the island have come forward to help even before being asked.
‘Most people would be able to look after themselves but there are some who would need help. If they are together getting the care they need then it would help cut down on doctors’ home visits.’
A few families on Tiree are self-isolating but when the Oban Times went to press it was understood situation had not changed.
The doctors still want to hear from anyone who might have symptoms and are self-isolating so they can get a more accurate idea of levels of the virus on the island.
A big thank you from the medical team has also gone out to everyone paying attention to advice to keep up social distancing and who are self-isolating.
‘There has been an outstanding level of co-operation from people who are embracing social distancing and we are getting a good response from volunteers. Getting a list of potential helpers to run the ward if we need it is now in progress,’ added the doctor.
Volunteers who are helping with prescription deliveries have also been thanked.
Louise Reid who is administration and projects manager for Tiree Community Trust said support on the island has been ‘amazing’.
She said: ‘There’s no testing on the island yet so I’m not sure if there are confirmed cases but everyone is supporting and checking on each other.
‘No one will have to struggle. It’s quite scary that coronavirus has taken everything over, life seems to have stopped as we knew it, but Tiree is rallying round. It’s reassuring they have a ward set up if we need it. I really hope we don’t.’