Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the health think tank the Nuffield Trust, joins Dr Margaret McCartney for this special programme about the challenges of remote and rural healthcare.
Margaret travels by boat from Mallaig to the Hebridean islands of Eigg, Muck, Rum and Canna off the north west coast of Scotland where, after 100 years the islanders lost their resident doctor. When it was clear there wouldn't be a replacement, the islanders and NHS Highland instead opted for a radical new healthcare model.
Taking inspiration from indigenous tribes in Alaska, the NUKA model has been adapted for the Small Isles and it is very different, with a high level of community engagement. The idea is that local people own their own healthcare rather than having healthcare delivered to them, as passive recipients.
Local people are trained up in first aid and become salaried Rural Health and Social Care Workers. They are the eyes and ears of healthcare professionals. Volunteers also act as First Responders coordinating helicopter and lifeboat rescues in emergencies.
Dr Margaret McCartney joins GP Dr Geoff Boyes on his weekly visit to Eigg and discovers how the community has adapted to this new way of delivering care. She hears from Gill McVicar, former NHS Highland Director of Transformation and Camille Dressler, chair of the Small Isles Community Council, about how the reorganisation was managed; from Julie McFadzean about the new health and rural health and social care worker role; from Sheena Kean, the Eigg healthcare practice manager who makes sure everything runs smoothly and to Eigg residents about how they think their new healthcare model is working.
Producer: Fiona Hill
Credit Photo of Margaret McCartney: Paul Clarke
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