About NHS Orkney
“The challenges of being the smallest health board in Scotland are immense. Not only does NHS Orkney have to adhere to the same guidelines as other larger territorial boards, but there are limitations on flexibility due to our extremely tight budget.
Delivering top quality patient care under severe financial constraints has been the hallmark of NHS Orkney in recent years. This has been achieved thanks to the innovative and tireless efforts of our professional staff and the strict governance over what we do by our diligent board members.
As a result, NHS Orkney, alongside its public sector partner Orkney Islands Council, provides two of the vital pillars that support the thriving economy of Orkney today.”
John Ross Scott
Chair NHS Orkney
Our organisation’s vision is to:
'offer everyone in Orkney access to a NHS that helps them to keep well and provides them with high quality care when it is needed whilst employing a skilled and committed local workforce who are proud to work for NHS Orkney’
- making patient safety our number one priority
- having patients needs and interests at the heart of what we do
- living within our means and driving efficiency, productivity and sustainability in all we do
- working with and listening to the Community
- working in multidisciplinary teams where everyone’s skills are valued
- creating healthcare facilities that are fit for purpose for patients and staff
- creating an environment where people enjoy working and giving their best
- constantly improving by aiming high, using evidence and best challenge to improve, encouraging innovation and driving out inefficiency wherever we find it
Corporate Themes and Corporate Priorities click on link to open document
Orkney Islands Information
Lying off the north-east coast of Scotland, between John O'Groats and the Shetland Isles, Orkney is an archipelago of over 70 islands, 17 of which are inhabited.
The total population of Orkney is just under 20,000 with most people living on Mainland, the main island. Kirkwall, the capital, with a population of 7,500, is the administrative centre of Orkney with a good mix of shops, supermarkets and small local businesses. The smaller town of Stromness, with a population of 2,500, is situated to the West of the Mainland. Both towns are famed for their picturesque main streets, and both are terminals for Northlink Ferries.
Renowned for its breathtaking natural scenery, Orkney offers amazing fertile land, as well as lochs, rolling green and purple hills and acres of silver, blue and violet sky. The islands are generally very fertile and low-lying, except for the island of Hoy, which is famous for the rock stack, "The Old Man of Hoy", and the surging seas below the cliffs at Rackwick.
The Gulf Stream passes close to the seas surrounding the islands, giving Orkney a surprisingly temperate climate. Frost and snow are rare, but it is very windy. The often dramatic changes in the weather can result in your experiencing all four seasons in the course of a day. The days are short and dark in the winter, but in the summer it is possible to read a newspaper or play a round of golf at midnight in the long, light nights of June and July.
The main occupation of the people is farming, the landscape reflecting the hard work of generations of farmers and the fertility of the land. Farm houses and steadings have been modernised, and there is a high level of mechanisation. Most farmers breed and rear beef cattle of the highest standard, although dairy cows and sheep are also kept. Agriculture is the main industry of the islands and generates some £30 million per year, followed closely by tourism and oil. And fishermen compete with seals and sea birds to enjoy something of the rich bounty provided by the surrounding seas.Orkney is at the forefront of the renewable energy drive in the UK. Wind turbines are dotted around the islands and wave energy research is on-going.
To the archaeologist, Orkney is a paradise rich in ancient monuments. Tourists come from all over the world to admire, amongst others, the 12th Century St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall. The Neolithic village of Skara Brae is one of the most important sites in Europe; it has received World Heritage Status, along with the burial mound at Maeshowe and the 12 majestic Standing Stones of Stenness and the 36-stone Ring of Brodgar. Older than Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids, Orkney's Neolithic sites give a vivid insight into the lives and beliefs of our ancient settlers. The newest archaeological discovery is Mine Howe at Tankerness, a chambered mound, believed to date from the Neolithic period and is known as the mystery of the 29 steps.
Built by Italian prisoners of war during WW2, the Churchill Barriers are a series of paved causeways that join the four islands of Lamb Holm, Glimps Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay, linking them to the Mainland. They also protect the sheltered anchorage at Scapa Flow, the largest natural anchorage around the coasts of Britain. On Lamb Holm, the POWs also built, mainly from scrap materials, an abiding Italian memorial in the form of a charming rococo chapel.
Sport and Leisure
Orcadians enjoy a wide variety of sports and other leisure activities. Sea sports are popular and there are a number of active sailing clubs as well as windsurfing and water skiing. Loch fishing is extremely popular with the tourists, as is diving on the wrecks of Scapa Flow, and bird watching. There are a number of Drama and Arts Societies, several of which organise performances and concerts. Orcadians are talented musicians who enjoy taking part with the visiting artistes in the annual Orkney Folk Festival and St Magnus Festival. The Pickaquoy Centre is a truly innovative leisure centre, providing everyone with the opportunity to experience and enjoy a diverse range of sports and leisure activities, including the most northerly cinema in Britain.Twinned with Hordaland, the region surrounding Bergen in Norway, Orkney is a small friendly community, very conscious of its Norse ancestry, as distinct from the Celtic of the west and north-west of Scotland.
Orkney has some of the best schools in Great Britain and Kirkwall Grammar School and Stromness Academy regularly feature in the 100 Best State Schools league tables. There are primary schools on most of the outer islands and where there are also 4 Junior Secondary Schools. Tertiary education is provided at Orkney College and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).
Location & Travel
Although the islands are geographically isolated, excellent communication links have been developed within the islands and with other centres on the Scottish Mainland, such as Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow. A number of flights arrive at, and depart from, the Kirkwall Airport daily.
By Sea from Mainland Scotland to Mainland Orkney
Northlink Ferries operates a daily service between Scrabster in the North of Scotland and Stromness and, in addition, there is a Ro-Ro service, several times a week from Aberdeen. Pentland Ferries operates two to three times a day from South Ronaldsay to Gills Bay, and during the summer months, a short-sea passenger crossing from John O'Groats to Burwick, South Ronaldsay operates twice-daily.
By Sea and Air - Inter-Island
Inter-island ferry services link most of the Islands to the Orkney Mainland and Loganair operates an inter-island scheduled service to most islands, with an additional charter service being available. Public transport services are also available on the Mainland.
You can travel: To Aberdeen to catch the Northlink ferry, to Thurso where a bus leaves the railway station in time for the daily Northlink ferry from Scrabster, or to Wick where a bus leaves to catch the Pentland Ferry or the short sea passenger ferry, which operates during the summer months.
Additional Information about Orkney
Please go to the Links page