IT is one of the most idyllic corners of Scotland with everything from secluded beaches to rolling hills and forests.

But Raasay, home to a population of around 170, has been without any resident medical cover for the past 10 years.

Now, after a long campaign, islanders hope things are about to change as NHS Highland launches a recruitment drive today aimed at attracting a community nurse to live and work on the beauty spot.

The island has no GP surgery and its last resident nurse retired a decade ago.

She was replaced on a rota basis Monday to Friday by three district nurses who travel out from Portree, a 25-minute ferry ride away on the neighbouring Isle of Skye.

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The only other medical cover is a GP surgery once a week on Wednesday morning when a family doctors sails out from Skye, but the situation has left residents on Raasay without any out-of-hours provision.

In July 2015, islanders launched a campaign for a resident nurse to be re-instated.

A previous recruitment attempt by NHS Highland in December 2015 failed, but this time the health board is hopeful of attracting candidates keen for a change in lifestyle.

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The latest attempt follows a report in May 2018 by Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie into out of hours care in Skye, Raasay and South West Ross, which emphasised the need for equal access to services even where population numbers are relatively small.

His report has underpinned a new drive to turn the area into a centre of excellence for remote and rural healthcare - a factor which the health board hopes will also help to lure prospective candidates.

Kate Earnshaw, district manager for NHS Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross, said: "This is an exciting opportunity for a suitably qualified and experienced nurse to join the Community Nursing Team and make a real difference to healthcare provision on Raasay.

"We hope this opening will appeal to candidates looking for a real shift in lifestyle. Raasay is a wonderful place to live and work and we look forward to attracting lots of applications."

The Band 6 post is permanent, can be full-time or part-time, and comes with a salary of £30,401 to £38,046.

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He or she would be the first clinician on scene in the event of an emergency on the island, would be required to provide on-call nursing cover, and would be the main point of contact on the island for the Skye-based GPs and rural medics at the MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford, on Skye.

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The role promises "considerable autonomy" as Raasay's nurse will be responsible for assessing, planning, implementing and reviewing the island's healthcare needs.

NHS Highland said it is seeking "qualified, confident, competent and experienced" candidates who must be "adaptable and resourceful, working without a hospital or GP at hand".

Up to date clinical knowledge and skills are required, as is a desire to work in a remote, rural setting.

The health board hopes to be able to hire more than one nurse for the island.

A spokeswoman said: "The post holder would have a lot of variety in their job; every day is likely to be different as they would be dealing with patients from young children to the elderly.

"In addition to the professional challenges of working predominantly on their own, the remote location could present some challenges to everyday life, such as transport.

"For the community, the presence of resident nurse cover is greatly anticipated and will bring reassurance.

"Raasay is a wonderful place to work and live and to bring up a family. There is low crime, low pollution, amazing scenery and wildlife.

"The community nurse is a highly respected member of the community.

"It has a vibrant community, entertaining year round visitors, a well-stocked community shop, post office, community hall, and an excellent primary school.

"It's within easy community distance to Portree on Skye.

"The Highlands and Islands have also been named as the happiest place to live in Scotland, according to the latest Bank of Scotland Happiness Index.

"Those living in the region highlighted the natural environment and a strong sense of community as key."

The closing date for applications is August 19.

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Anne Gillies, chair of Raasay Community Council, said: “A resident nurse on Raasay will be a huge boost to the community.

"It will make an enormous difference, particularly to families with young children and our elderly population. We’re all very happy at the prospect of having a nursing presence on the island again.”