Excerpts from issue 42/02 15 November 2014

spors a choille
Spors sa Choille

Everyone involved in the Spors sa Choille had a great time. The night consisted of a torch-lit walk through Bridgend woods, nature themed activities and games, and food in the bothy.

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2015 calendar

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GP recruitment campaign goes south

In an effort to attract GPs to work in remote and rural communities NHS Highland is mounting a recruitment campaign in England.
An illuminated van bearing stunning scenes of the Highlands has been driven around the streets of Liverpool during a major GPs' conference in the city. And eye-catching adverts are to appear on buses and roadside billboards in Leeds in the hope that they will attract doctors.
The recruitment campaign also features a dedicated website which details GP vacancies. The website is presently advertising vacancies for two GPs on Islay.
"These posts are ideal for GPs who want to work as true Generalists across daytime practice, community hospital inpatient care and a busy rural emergency department." the advert states. "They are also ideal for those hoping to develop their CV, gain experience in remote and rural primary care and develop teaching skills." Potential recruits are told that they can expect to earn £100,000 to £110,000 per annum.
Though full-time permanent GPs are sought, the advert welcomes expressions of interest from those seeking a variety of fixed-term or flexible working arrangements. An example given is alternating between two weeks on Islay (daytime and OOH) followed by a break (of between five and 14 days).
Elaine Mead, NHS Highland's chief executive, said, "We are confident that there must be many GPs, either newly qualified or experiences, who would relish the lifestyle and career opportunities working in some of our more remote areas would provide."
NHS Highland is being supported in its work by the Scottish Government through the 'Being Here' programme, with £1.5 million invested in testing innovative ways of recruiting to healthcare professionals, and particularly GPs, in rural areas of Scotland.
Elaine Mead said: "This funding recognises that it has become increasingly difficult to recruit and retain health and care professionals to remote areas and we hope our marketing initiative will help us to develop longer-term recruitment solutions that will allow the healthcare needs of rural communities to be delivered." Cash incentives, in the form of 'Golden Hellos', may be offered to potential GP recruits.

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RBS Port Ellen branch closes
rbs bank closure

The Royal Bank of Scotland's Sub branch on Pier Road, Port Ellen closed its doors for the very last time at 12:30 last Tuesday. According to RBS "the number of customers using the Port Ellen branch has dropped significantly over the past few years." When RBS announced the closure earlier this year local councillor Robin Currie commented, "The centralisation of services worries me greatly as it threatens the viability of rural communities." Mary Galbraith, Labour candidate for the 2015 general election said, "Bank closures, just like post offices shutting, have such negative impacts on communities."
The Port Ellen Branch is not a stranger to controversy. In 1991 when its closure was announced, a turnout of seventy people at a meeting hurriedly convened by the community council demonstrated the extent of local feeling. Two months later the same people were celebrating when the bank reversed its decision.
The last customer before the bank closed was Freddy Bell who sent us the photograph of Elaine Hamilton and Branch Manager Stephanie Patton.


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Islay pro-independence group launched

The Islay Alliance - a cross-party and non-party group of local people working towards an independent Scotland - was formally launched at a recent meeting in Ballygrant.
Its first action will aid two Argyll charities - a children's charity on Islay, and the Campbeltown Food Bank. Because of the similarity of its aims and membership, the Islay Alliance has fallen 'heir' to remaining 'Yes Islay' funds, which amount to more than £400. Alliance members voted unanimously not to use these funds in its campaigning, but to donate them to charity and to begin to raise its own funds from scratch.
The Alliance plans to keep the momentum towards independence going on Islay by bringing prominent pro-indy speakers to the island in the run up to the 2015 General Election and the 2016 Scottish Election. The Alliance will also be involved in any referendum of membership of the EU. It's planned that the majority of Alliance's speakers will come from out-with the SNP, and will address issues such as land reform, local democracy and local government reform, health, education, the rural economy and the Trident nuclear base at Faslane. The Alliance hopes to bring its first speaker to Islay before the end of the year, and then to step up its activities in the run up to the General Election.
The Alliance is currently in the process of adopting a constitution, and electing a seven-strong committee to streamline its management. Donald Gillies has already been elected chairperson, with Jenni Minto as treasurer, and Tony Rozga and Les Wilson as committee members.
Membership of the Alliance is open to all who believe in Scottish independence, whether they belong to a political party or not.


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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE 29 November 2014

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Islay Natural History Trust Blog

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islay community council

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Additional information is available on the Isle of Islay
and Isle of Jura websites.

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Islay Diary 2014

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