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Health & Social Care

Orkney benefits from comprehensive, high quality health and social care services on a par with what you’d expect on the Scottish mainland.

In fact, the islands are home to a brand-new state-of-the-art hospital, The Balfour, which opened in Kirkwall in 2019.

The hospital offers a range of services including an emergency department, MacMillan cancer care and Orkney’s much-loved maternity unit.

Health care here is delivered by NHS Orkney, with some specialist services provided on mainland Scotland by other health boards, primarily NHS Grampian and NHS Highland.

Orkney’s local integrated service, Orkney Health and Care, supports GP practices which are spread across the islands. These practices also provide nursing and other therapeutic services. Some of our smaller communities have single-handed GP or Nurse Practitioners, or a visiting GP service with local Nurse Practitioners providing access to 24-hour care.

Help is at hand in an emergency too. Whilst most incidents can be dealt with locally, patients who need emergency medical treatment that can’t be delivered in Orkney are transported to the Scottish mainland by air ambulance. Residents in our island communities can also access emergency care - sometimes patients will be airlifted to Kirkwall by helicopter and occasionally transferred by lifeboat.

Dental and oral health services are provided by a number of NHS and private dental practices.

Orkney Health and Care also provides a wide range of community social services and runs a number of modern and fully equipped care centres across the county. There are excellent services in place to support health and community care in Orkney, including health and care services for children and families, mental health provision, services for people of all ages with a learning disability and people with sensory impairment and/or physical disabilities.