Gran forced to travel 200 miles for 15-minute hospital appointment every month

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A gran has sent an emotional message to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about the arduous 200-mile round trips she faces to attend 15-minute hospital appointments.

Dorothy Anderson, 79, from Thurso, Caithness, suffers double vision and breathlessness caused by the neuromuscular disease myasthenia.

In her video, she revealed the toll that the monthly 100-mile trips to ­Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, are taking on her.

Dorothy’s journey forces her to get up at 5am and use a nebuliser before travelling, and often doesn’t get home until 11pm, all for a 15-minute appointment to see a throat doctor, neurologist or have a tracheostomy tube checked.

Dorothy Anderson explains the toll the long trips are taking on her

Her message, which was played at Holyrood during a meeting of Caithness Health Action Team representatives with figures such as Health Secretary Shona Robison and NHS Highland chief executive Elaine Mead, has attracted ­thousands of views on Facebook.

Fighting back tears, Dorothy says: “I would like to ask Nicola Sturgeon and Shona Robison and Elaine Mead, would any of them be happy to let their mother or their granny travel in a train, if it’s going, for four-and-a-half hours, or on a bus, if it doesn’t break down halfway, to go to an appointment?”

Holding a photo of herself to show what she looked like just a year ago, she adds: “I was quite an active person and I want to be an active person again. I don’t want to rely on other people.

Dorothy Anderson shows what she looked like just a year ago

“People are not going to come up here with their young families to live if there is not a decent hospital within a hundred miles.”

Ron Gunn, vice chairman of Caithness Health Action Team, who recorded the clip on his phone, said: “Shona Robison was opposite me at the meeting, so I showed her the video and had a loudspeaker so everyone could hear it.

Dorothy Anderson has to travel 100 miles to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness every month for 15-minute appointments

“She did write something down but there was no response, there was silence in the room.”

Dorothy is one of more than 11,000 people from the far north who travelled ­to Raigmore for outpatient appointments last year because services were no longer available in places such as Wick.

Robison said: “I want to ensure patients across Scotland get access to the best quality ­healthcare, which is why I will be writing to Ms Anderson to ­understand more about the specific details.”



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