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Dunbar Hospital - Thurso
Open Day


The new Telemedicine Accident and Emergency service opens in Dunbar Hospital, Thurso on Friday 28th February at 08:30am. The hospital provides a 24 hour A&E service.  The new service was launched by an open day for the public on Friday 21st February, at which there was a good turn out of local people.

Alex Robertson, the Charge Nurse at the hospital said:
‘The new system is at the cutting edge of technology and will most certainly be an improvement to the previous service, as it will give direct links to expert medical advice from a major trauma centre in the North of Scotland.’

Alex Robertson, Charge Nurse and Barbara Millar

.When a patient now attends Accident and Emergency in Thurso, he/she will be seen by a nurse who will start the initial assessment to decide what the problem is, i.e. if it is a wrist injury, the nurse will look up the protocol outlining wrist injuries.

Each of the 30 protocols for trauma and a selection of medical problems follow a selection of care pathways. This means that a nurse can work through a pathway which may allow the nurse to carry out the entire treatment and discharge the patient. If there is a problem, the nurse will link up via the tele-medicine link to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where the specialist staff in their Accident and Emergency Department can give advice first hand.

Working with you to make Highland the healthy place to be There will always be a GP on duty and the first option would be to call the GP in a medical emergency, child protection issue or where a patient’s condition deteriorates suddenly.

If the patient needs an x-ray, or medical advice, then the nurse goes to the telemedicine link. This is a fast, responsive service and access to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is straightforward and immediate. There is also a hand-held camera which enables the staff to take close-up in-depth pictures to project immediately onto the screen in Aberdeen. Two of the nurses have already completed their Nurse Prescribing course, with a further five starting theirs in September.

A document reader is also used that has the capability of transferring x-rays direct to Aberdeen.

Alison Phimister, LHCC Manager being interviewed by Ian Grant for Grampian TV.

Barbara Millar, who is a senior staff nurse at Dunbar, was absolutely enthusiastic about the new service. Barbara said:  ‘I am very impressed by the whole system, which will provide the highest service to the whole community, as well as giving the best possible care to our patients.’

This was endorsed by Dr. Alison Brooks, who is the lead clinician for the service. She commented:
‘I am absolutely delighted with the new unit. We now have a direct link with Aberdeen Royal, where we can access specialist advice immediately from their Casualty Department. This is a major step forward and is a first class service for the population of Caithness, not only in the treatment they receive, but in being the first hospital in Highland to use this high technology. Patients now have the opportunity of being assessed here, being seen by Doctors in Aberdeen and then be treated on the spot. All the hard work of the team has been well worthwhile.’

Liz Smith, from Highland Health Council agreed:
‘Having seen the new service working, Highland Health Council fully and wholeheartedly embrace it. The people of Thurso will get a better, improved service to what they had. It is absolutely superb.’

Finally, Heather Sheerin OBE, Chairman of the Highland Primary Care Trust added:
‘I cannot thank the nurses enough for their hard work and dedication in getting this new service up and running. Also, the GPs in Thurso who worked alongside the nurses and in partnership with the Trust to ensure the development of the A & E department was completed in time and for the benefit of the patients.’

Further Developments At Dunbar Hospital include -
1st April 2003

Minor Injuries Training for the nurses at the Dunbar Hospital will be completed. This will allow an increase to a total of 70%, of the people that previously would have received treatment from GPs at the hospital, of people to be treated locally.


Nurse Prescribing training will be completed for nurses at Dunbar Hospital. This will enable a total of 75%, of the people that previously would have received treatment from GPs at the hospital, to be treated locally.