Following media coverage of the emergency provision created in Castlebay in relation to the coronavirus outbreak, the chief executive of NHS Western Isles, Gordon Jamieson made the following statement in a video on Twitter last night (Saturday March 21):

“Tonight, I wanted to give you some reassurance regarding the provision here in the Outer Hebrides.  Whilst every day I am grateful for the media coverage which comes from across the world and brings us up to date with the situation regarding coronavirus, I am concerned about some particular media coverage today.

"Turning specifically to the Isle of Barra, if any patient on the Isle of Barra requires ventilation and life support, they will be transferred off island, by the military or Coastguard to an appropriate mainland facility. 

"To preserve and support the hospital services in St Brendan’s [the NHS facility in Castlebay] we have created a community-based facility in Castlebay.  That is intended to be a facility where patients who have undergone testing or require first assessment can be supported and can remain there until such times as they can be returned to their homes. 

"It was not intended to be and was not set up to be an emergency facility and it is not expected at all that it will provide any of the caring services that any patient would require that needs to go to hospital. 

"I would like to thank the staff as well for their on-going efforts as they are working flat-out in our preparation to deal with coronavirus.”

This statement appears to be a reaction to widespread coverage of a photograph of a facility in Castlebay community centre which was sent out with a media release by Angus Brendan MacNeil, MP.

NHS Western Isles states on its Twitter feed that it is a response to “misleading coverage today in a national tabloid newspaper.”