John Carmichael (Chair)                                           Archie McGillivray

Jon Derham                                                               Mark Willis

Duncan Livingstone                                                  Jim MacCormick

Mandie Currie (Secretary)                                        Johnny MacFadyen  


In attendance: Cllr Elaine Robertson

                        Dr Iain McNicol  


Minutes of the meeting held on 23rd March 2006  

Proposed by Mark Willis, seconded by Jim MacCormick, the minutes were adopted as an accurate record.  

Matters Arising

Car Parking, Port Appin:  Elaine Robertson confirmed that she had contacted Foster Yeoman regarding options for reducing the numbers of employees using the car park, such as car sharing. FY do not keep records on this but will investigate. Secretary will contact The Pier House about ownership of the foreshore and possible use of their car park by Lismore residents. They have already confirmed verbally that six spaces are available for Lismore residents to use. Action: Secretary.  

Training second person to remove Hydro fuses: No action from Hydro-electric yet. Duncan Brooks agreed to follow up. Action: Duncan Brooks.  

Building Plot: No action taken to date on the unsightly nature of the building plot at Achnacroish. Action: Secretary.  

Ferry Issues  

The letter from Stewart Turner, Head of Roads and Amenity Services, Argyll & Bute, was discussed.

Luggage storage – the maximum weight that can be stored in the luggage spaces is 500kg. ST agreed that it was reasonable to store luggage on empty seats, but not on any of the floor areas. He will seek clarification from the MCA on the definition of cargo spaces.

ST also agreed that the ferry should run on a second sailing if there was too much luggage to fit in the luggage compartment or safely on empty seats. But this would not be possible if it extended the ferrymen’s working day at the last scheduled run before lunch, or the last scheduled run of the day, as it would create difficulties with rest periods.

No clear response was given to the request that larger items, such as bags of dog meal, could be stored at the front of the ferry (where the ferrymen stand). ST explained that the stability of the vessel is paramount and bulky items could lead to stability items – bikes are apparently acceptable in this respect. However, ST will clarify the position with the MCA.

Out of Hours ferries – ST confirmed that the Council will be advertising for bank crew.

Costs of late ferries – ST pointed out that Calmac provide the lifeline service and should really provide the out of hours services. The increases of £45 up to midnight and £60 after midnight are much less than originally intended and still represent a supported service by Argyll & Bute. He confirmed that Argyll & Bute will investigate novel ways of achieving lower fares for this service, e.g. charging a lower cost, per head, for out of hours ferries.

The issue of costs of a double run on an out of hours service was raised. A recent booking was apparently charged £45 twice, as the ferry had to run twice to clear all passengers. Elaine Robertson agreed to clarify this situation.

Condition of the vessel – In response to concerns about the condition of the vessel and the frequency of breakdowns, ST confirmed that there was a problem with electrical wiring, but that this was currently being addressed.

Petrol – ST confirmed that the high costs involved and the requirements of the MCA, had prevented Argyll & Bute from providing a service. Copies of all correspondence with the MCA will be provided.

North End Car Ferry – ER confirmed that Argyll & Bute have not received any decision from Scottish Executive about the STAG appraisal, but that Cllr MacIntyre was meeting the Minister to discuss the matter. Routes will be tendered in September.  

Action: Secretary to respond to letter from ST, urging progress with the MCA on the above issues and seeking clarification on charges for a double run on out of hours services.

Secretary to write to Minister for Transport seeking clarification on action to be taken and asking for a STAG appraisal to be conducted as soon as possible.  

GP Out of Hours Services  

Julian Wormleighton provided an update on action taken and progress made to date. The LCC Out of Hours sub committee and the LCC Secretary have been in contact with the Community Health Partnership for their proposals in the event of an opt-out, and dialogue has been ongoing on the matter since June 2005. This has involved many letters, E mails and meetings that included representatives from the CHP, Appin GP practice, Scottish Ambulance Service and Fire and Rescue Services. LCC have requested that the possibility of designating the Appin practice as an essential practice be considered, thus providing sufficient funding to provide locum cover. This has so far met with a negative response from the CHP, who have stated that they could only consider the case for it after nine months post- opt out, if provisions were demonstrated to be inadequate.  

At the last meeting of this group on 29th March, it was agreed that a project group would be established in order to address the various issues. Current investigations by the CHP include mechanisms for enabling the Scottish Ambulance Service to reach patients on the island. Ambulances are unable to access the island, in the absence of a car ferry, and the crews cannot be guaranteed to leave their ambulance and cross on the passenger ferry. The SAS have agreed to scope the possibility of establishing a helipad on the island and the likely availability and flight times for helicopters servicing the island in the event of an emergency. The CHP is proposing that cover, in the event of an opt-out, would be a combination of the ambulance service (probably by air) plus the on-call GP in the Lorn and the Isles Hospital . SAS have confirmed that they are not obliged to provide ambulance cover to Lismore, that they currently do not have sufficient funding to cover the island, and that criteria on response times do not cover islands.  

Mairi Perkins described the implications of the GP opt-out for the nursing cover on the island. The nursing team is employed by the NHS, not the practice, although they work closely and share the medical Out of Hours care with them. If the GPs opt out, then the nurse would operate as a single handed practice and would be professionally and geographically isolated, therefore the nurse practitioner will also opt out.  

The CHP reviewed the post of Community Nurse when the position became vacant recently and decided to absorb the hours worked into the existing team. The Community Nurse will therefore not be replaced. The Health Visitor post has similarly been reduced. The Nurse Practitioner will work 24 hours per day, five days per week. There will be no full-time weekend nursing cover – the GPs will cover emergencies, with the Nurse Practitioner taking a place on the rota. Nursing care will still be provided 24 hours per day, 7 days a week for terminally ill patients. Bad weather conditions could result in there being no medical cover accessible to the island at all.  

Duncan Brooks provided an update on the co-responders (first responders) scheme. This was to be a pilot project to assess the viability of the Fire and Rescue Service providing support and back up to paramedics. This coincided with the opt-out issue, although the two issues are not linked. The CHP appear to have viewed the co-responders as a crucial part of the out of hours cover in the event of an opt-out. The Lismore Fire crew were going to discuss the issue with the community but in the meantime, Strathclyde Fire & Rescue Service have decided to run the pilot project in three other communities (including Appin) instead.  

Iain McNicol then spoke and confirmed that the practice will not opt out until suitable arrangements are in place to provide safe and reliable out of hours cover. The practice have asked for proposals from the CHP to be tabled, prior to their decision on opting out, but the CHP have declined to identify the arrangements that will be in place until the practice give formal notice to opt-out. The opt-out, once in train, will be permanent and cannot be revoked. Currently, 999 calls from Lismore are diverted to the Appin GP. Argyll & Bute Council have confirmed to the Community Council, in writing, that the ferry will take the GP across in the event of an emergency, although the arrangement has not been formalised with al contract or service agreement. The recent changes to nursing cover on Lismore increases the likelihood of the GP, and therefore the ferry, being called out. In order to meet the 30 minutes maximum time that anyone should wait to get competent primary care, an ambulance and fire crew would need to be based in Appin. Helicopters have been used previously but may take more than three hours to get here. It was mentioned that the SAS budget is very limited – the SAS budget for the whole of Scotland is equal to that for Strathclyde Fire Brigade. It was confirmed in one of the joint meetings, that the lifeboat may have difficulties in getting into the pier at Achnacroish at certain tides.  

It was suggested that LCC should write to the Minister for Health, requesting an improvement in nursing cover, since compared with provisions for care in Oban, a population the size of Lismore should have eight health care workers. There appears to be no logical reason for reducing the nursing cover on Lismore. Dr McNicol suggested that Lismore should demand its own island based GP (there was a GP on Lismore in the 19th Century), citing smaller populations, such as Jura, Colonsay, Coll, North Ronaldsay etc, all of which have their own GP, although there has not been a new practice established since Livingston in 1974. The population is increasing steadily and an improved medical service is essential to the future sustainability of the community.  

It was agreed that LCC should request a full review of the situation, to include consideration of the case for an island based GP, or to designate the Appin practice as essential. When Dr McNicol retires, the Appin surgery will become a branch of the Connel surgery. That would be a good time to locate a surgery on Lismore.     

The possibility of getting media cover on the issue was discussed, including the potential of undertaking an exercise to demonstrate the difficulties in handling emergency situations on Lismore. It was also agreed that everyone should write to the Minister to request a review of the whole service to Lismore.  

Mention was also made of the current response time for the ferry to come out in an emergency, now that the ferrymen do not appear to be required to stay in the ferry house while on-call. Contacting the ferrymen in an emergency may also be a problem. It was agreed that Elaine Robertson should clarify that the ferrymen can be contacted, will come out in an emergency and can get the ferry out within a reasonable response time. Dr McNicol confirmed that he would shortly be meeting the ferrymen and Martin Gorringe, regarding emergency ferry cover. Elaine Robertson confirmed that local petitioning on the issue might make a difference, mentioning the success that the correspondence had in securing the future of the Stay Put project.  

Action: Secretary to produce letter to Health Minister requesting a review of the situation.

             Secretary to provide details and addresses to enable individuals to write to Ministers.

Elaine Robertson to confirm that the ferry will provide emergency cover within an acceptable   response time.   

Elaine Robertson to contact Calmac about providing lifeline services and transporting ambulances.

LCC to invite CHP representatives to discuss issue with community on Lismore.   



The damage and mess caused by Peacocks in the graveyard was raised.

Action: secretary to write to Argyll & Bute.

A request was made for bays for storing tar, sand and gravel to be installed at Achnacroish pier.

Action: Secretary to write to Argyll & Bute.

The lifebelt at Achnacroish is missing.

Action: Secretary.

There is an exposed (metered) cable to the waiting room at Achnacroish. This is the responsibility of the Council.

Action: Secretary to write to Argyll & Bute.  

Date of Next Meeting:  7pm on Thursday 15th June 2006; this will be the AGM.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional