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Post strike action “harming remote GP surgeries”

12 October 2007

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Strike action by postal workers could be putting people’s lives at risk by affecting GP surgeries, Business and Enterprise Secretary John Hutton has admitted.

It comes after former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy revealed that people having blood tests are not able to get their results back.

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber said many of his constituents on the remote islands rely on the Royal Mail for the tests.

He is now asking the Government to look at providing an emergency plan to help ease the crisis.

Mr Kennedy said a GP for the Small Isles Medical Practice told him that “people on those islands with blood tests are now not able to get the results of those examinations because the method of communication between the regional hospital and those islands is now no longer in place.

“This is a desperately serious state of affairs and, even if the Government can’t intervene in terms of the negotiations of the dispute, can it at least, perhaps in concert with the Scottish Executive, look at emergency provisions for people who are medically dependent on that sort of service?”

Mr Hutton said: “I will indeed pursue the point that you raise. We shouldn’t forget that in some cases, and you have highlighted one, where this industrial action could actually compromise a person’s life. This is simply unacceptable.”

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Charles Kennedy