George Budge, is a long-time British Fantasy Society member who lives in the Highlands of Scotland. Well, the NHS unit that keeps him and many others healthy and mobile, looks like it might close and George is trying to keep it open by organising a petition,for which details can be found here:

And below is more information from the man himself.

If you can help at all, it would be most appreciated.




Hello Y'all,

Most of you will know that, on a number of occasions I have been an inpatient, in a fantastic rheumatology unit up here and usually come out able to leap tall buildings. The unit is the only one of its kind in the whole country and has been in existence for over a hundred years (we do have some modern equipments and procedures now!!) and has helped thousands of people in that time.

We have learned that there are now plans to close the unit at weekends and reduce beds. The eventual aim might be to close it and have services provided locally. This will not work. To give you an idea of how the NHS Trust thinks up here - there is talk of closing the maternity ward in Wick. This would mean that the nearest maternity service would be in Inverness, 145 miles away.

The NHS Highland region is very, very geographically large and there is no way that all the specialist services (lots of them) that are provided under the one roof in a unit (which, when patients go in also helps carers) can be provided by already stretched GPs and local services.

So, from a standing start myself and another patient, Michelle (who in her twenties has already had two knee and hip replacements) have got a campaign started. The Press and Journal (a paper with a fairly large circulation up here) turned a letter I sent them into an article and appear very willing to support us. Some MSPs and MPs are involved. Michelle has sent out lots of letters asking people to get their GPs to write to NHS objecting to cuts.

We have set up an email address, for offers of support and help.

We have a Facebook group: Help Highland Rheumatology Unit.

I have set up an online petition,

I am writing to ask if you could please sign that petition and forward this email to as many others who you think would sign. I think that the petition might automatically show your region? So, in case the NHS Trust decides to look at this, you could maybe add a comment that "you know or have seen friends or relatives whose health has been dramatically improved by the Unit and who are managing to live independent lives as a result. they are not having to rely on GPs or other local service". Or something along those lines so that they do not all read the same.

If anybody knows of any organisation or solicitor (or anybody) in Scotland who could offer free advice about setting up simple Constitutions or raising money (we have no funds) we would be very grateful if you could let them know about us, or us about them. it is a challenge, to say the least, to cover this large area.

This Unit is incredible and the staff are remarkable!! They are managing to keep going despite five nurses who retired not being replaced.

I thank you in anticipation of any support and help you are able to offer

All the very best


By: Ian Hunter On Monday, 14 December 2009 Comment Comments( 0 ) Hits Views(5207)