Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Highland women warn poor care is risking their lives


Women living in the far north of Scotland are being failed by NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government, campaigners say.

Rebecca Wymer, of the North Highland Women’s Wellness Hub, said women’s lives were in danger due to the crisis in healthcare and called for an emergency review of women’s health services in Caithness and Sutherland.

The campaign group believes systemic problems were present before the pandemic.

Wymer said: “I believe serious conditions such as endometriosis and ovarian cancer are being missed. GPs are not trained in specific gynaecological conditions and pain management is poor. Women are given morphine repeatedly rather than being treated for the condition. Mental health decline is being ignored, women are disbelieved or left in pain. Shockingly, there is no miscarriage, menopause or fertility service.

“The A9 and A99 are often closed or dangerous to drive, making emergency transport to Raigmore (hospital) – more than 100 miles away – unreliable and sometimes impossible.”

The concerns of the Hub were discussed by the Scottish parliament’s health, social care and sport committee last week.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has met the group but, it says, missed two follow-up meetings. Wymer said: “We have a great relationship with the obstetrics, gynaecology and sexual health teams in Raigmore. They ooze passion and dedication. They are also over-run, overstretched and under-appreciated by decision-makers and purse holders.

“Yousaf has cancelled meetings he scheduled with the Hub at the very last minute and it feels like women’s health in the Highlands is a very easy issue to drop.”

She spoke out as the government’s promised appointment of a women’s health champion drags on. In December, Nicola Sturgeon said there would be an update from Yousaf “in the new year”. The role, announced 18 months ago, has not been advertised but six women have been interviewed, though none had been offered the job by mid-December.

Campaigners say the role is vital in addressing failings in women’s health provision.

In June, Dame Lesley was appointed the first Women’s Health Ambassador for England, six months after the post was announced.

NHS Highland said: “We have formal meetings with the Hub and are in regular contact giving updates on services and what is available in the Caithness area. We adopt a life course approach as part of the national Woman’s Health Plan with the aim to deliver a full service at Caithness. Caithness General Hospital has provision for patients in general gynaecology, including menopause, endometriosis, pelvic floor, postmenopausal bleeding, colposcopy and day gynaecology surgery. Women’s lived experience and feedback is constantly shared to our teams to ensure levels of good practice are adhered to.”

Public Health Minister Maree Todd said: “We are determined to ensure women in north of Scotland have access to the care and services they need. Our Women’s Health Plan raises awareness about women’s health and aims to reduce health inequalities for girls and women.

“A number of high-calibre women have been interviewed for the role of Women’s Health Champion and the appointments process is in the final stages. We will be providing an update to the parliament later this month.”