Resources (HIRS)

The Health Information & Resources Service (HIRS) offers a wide range of health related materials, which are available free of charge to those living and working within the Western Isles.

Materials include leaflets and booklets, teaching aids, contraceptive supplies, models, books, display and conference equipment, older people project boxes, childminding project boxes, posters and charts, and CD’s.

HIRS is offered as a drop-in service and open to everyone including students, parents, teachers, community groups, health professionals, and the general public.  Information and materials availble from HIRS complement work in many settings across the region, eg. schools, workplaces, health service, voluntary organisations and communities.

Email HIRS at: 

Don’t forget to visit us on Facebook at HIRS Western Isles and click like to follow us!

HIRS Reopens












“It was worth the wait!” and “This is just fantastic!”, were just two of the comments received from clients, as they came in for a sneaky peek before the reopening of the new-look HIRS.

Initial comments/feedback received from staff and clients on the new facility has been very positive – and individuals are encouraged to, as well as visiting our new-look service, also keep in touch via Facebook (HIRS Western Isles), and view the service and services available.

The new facility is still based in the Stornoway Health Centre, but is now located adjacent to the patient waiting area (previously the Broadbay Medical Practice reception).  Current opening hours are:

  • Mondays: Morning closed.  Open 2pm-4.30pm
  • Tuesdays: Open 10.30am-12.30pm and 2pm-4.30pm.
  • Wednesdays: Open 10.30am-12.30pm and 2pm-4.30pm.
  • Thursdays: Open 10.30am-12.30pm and 2pm-4.30pm.
  • Fridays: Open 10.30am-12.30pm and 2pm-4.30pm.

So whether you are looking for books to assist you with a further education course, teaching aids to deliver a health topic, picking up an information leaflet, contraceptives or a pregnancy test kit, or are just wanting to pop in and look at the service – all are welcome and we hope to see you soon!


computersWi-Fi Computer Access

Free Wi-Fi public access computers are now available for use at HIRS.  Computers are available only for those sourcing health information or undertaking health projects, and printing paper is not provided.



HIRS Leaflet List

The ‘HIRS Leaflet List’ lists each leaflet, booklet, CD and DVD available from the Resources Service by title and publisher.  Contraceptive supplies are also listed.  To view our most up-to-date version please scroll to the top of this page and click on Leaflet List.

All requests/orders must be made in writing on the Leaflet Request Form and returned to HIRS.  The Leaflet Request Form is located at the rear of the HIRS Leaflet List.  Alternatively please click here to view.


Contraceptive & Pregnancy Testing Kit Service

HIRS provides free condoms, lubricant, and Pregnancy Testing Kits to a number of NHSWI locations, as well as to other health-related services on request.

Members of the public can also contact or visit HIRS to discreetly obtain free supplies.


Health Models

Our health models can be used to further promote health messages.  Models include smoking jars, hand hygiene lamps, headlice bottles, CVD risk factors, smokers kit, and breast and testicular awareness models.



Older People Project Boxes

Older People Project Boxes are available for loan by residential homes and with older people community groups.

Boxes contain reminiscence materials, board games and soft play items for improving circulation and memory.



Childminding Project Boxes

Childminding boxes are available for loan by nurseries and playgroups.

The boxes contain toys, books and activity materials on the topics of heatlhy eating, emotions and safety.




Donna Ingles, Administrative Support, and Cathy Anne Dunn, Advocacy Western Isles Acting Manager, with Emelin Collier, NHSWI.

Up-to-date Technology Presented to Local Groups

Two Western Isles groups were recently presented with additional IT software to help their clients and staff have easier access to accurate and up-to-date health and patient information.

NHS Western Isles’ HI (Health Information), provided laptops and iPads for Advocacy Western Isles and Macaulay College, and the equipment has proved invaluable in increasing their opportunity to health-related internet access.

Advocacy Western Isles, which provides free, independent and confidential services throughout the Western Isles, received two laptops.  Advocacy Western Isles provides much needed assistance to adults, those with learning difficulties, mental health issues, and children and young people. Cathy Anne Dunn, Advocacy Western Isles Acting Manager, said: “The laptops offer us more fl exibility and freedom in our work. We are now able to be mobile when having meetings with our clients, or when we visit clients in their own homes.  The equipment also enables our volunteers to work more  effectively with our clients.  We very much appreciate this contribution by NHS Western Isles.”


Staff and students at the Macaulay College, using the new iPads.

Macaulay College, based in the outskirts of Stornoway, encourages those adults aged over 16 years with additional social and educational needs to have meaningful and fulfilling working and social lives. Macaulay College also received two iPads. Macaulay College offers a programme of activities to enable their students to achieve their full potential, reach person specific targets, whilst enriching both their working and social lives.  Roland Engebretson, Co-Founder of Macaulay College, said: “The iPads have enabled easier access to health information for our staff and students. The added bonus has been the therapeutic benefits of the various apps available.

He added: “Educational games, involving memory, coordination, problem solving, as well as music making and photography apps have been a huge hit. One of our students, Steve, was particularly delighted with the iPads and told us they were ‘the bees’ knees!’.”

Emelin Collier, NHS Western Isles Head of Planning and Development, said: “Providing organisations such as Advocacy Western Isles and MacAulay College with up to date technology gives NHS Western Isles the opportunity of addressing health inequalities. This equipment enables vulnerable and hard to reach individuals or groups instant access to current health information and services available locally and nationally. Being able to access information in familiar surroundings and with support from people they know helps to reduce anxiety and also gives a degree of anonymity. The secondary benefit for the students at MacAulay College is that the apps available to them add a therapeutic element in improving their mental and physical health and well being. We are pleased to see the excellent use of this equipment and to have been able to support both organisations in this way”.

CAPTIVE AUDIENCE COMP A captive audience for health information!

Those visiting local hotels and bars can now read health information while they ‘spend a penny’!

Over 100 posters and toilet cubicle poster frames were purchased and distributed by Health Promotion to licenced premises throughout the Western Isles, to be used to promote a variety of health messages.

Posters will be changed regularly and will promote a range of topics including cancer, mental health, physical activity, and alcohol and drug information. Local information and events will also be advertised.

Pictured are Lorraine Gillies, Health Promotion Administrator; Christina MacIver, Manager, Caladh Inn; Tom Henderson, Manager, Caberfeidh Hotel; Sara Aboud, Health Promotion Manager; and Kenna Macinnes, Senior Health Promotion Officer. For further information please contact Marissa MacLennan, Health Information & Resources Officer.


NHSWI Inhouse Information on the increase

Presently over 100 NHSWI inhouse leaflet/booklet titles have been created, ranging from simple A4 tri-fold explaining about local services such as the Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic and the Western Isles Dental Centre, through to 16-page A5 and 20-page A4 size booklets explaining what to expect locally in relation to surgical procedures and patient information, eg. hip joint replacement and venous leg ulcers.


nhs inform logo

Easy Info Zone

The Easy Info zone on the NHS inform website offers easy read health information for people with learning disabilities.

The Easy Info zone currently comprises 46 health related articles, all in easy read format, grouped into the three categories: health conditions, wellbeing, and tests and treatments.  To access the zone please click here.


NHSWI Connect cardSocial Media Training

A Social Media Training day was held recently in the Western Isles Hospital, Stornoway, and was organised by the HIRS Officer.

A wide range of staff from Stornoway and Uist participated in the training day, which was aimed at providing participants with an overview of the most up-to-date social media landscape and trends – with a look at the developments for the year ahead.

Course organiser, Marissa MacLennan, Health Information and Resources Service Officer, said: “Staff were provided with an overview of social media, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as being provided with information on how to use each successfully to promote the organisation in future.”

She added: “As well as guidance on codes of ethics applicable to Social Media and the expected methods of engagement online, information was also provided on scheduling posts and managing various social networks from one platform. Use of proper etiquette when using social media tools, monitoring and managing service reputation online, and handling negative feedback was also included.”

The course, funded by NHS Western Isles’ e-Health Programmes Board, was delivered by trainer, Lesley-Anne Hornbogen of CM Innovation Ltd, who tailored the course to participants’ own mixed knowledge, abilities and skill sets. It is expected that once staff have become familiar with creating and maintaining further proposed NHS Western Isles web pages and social media sites, they will then be able to put the social media training into practice to further promote services and engage with patients, staff, and the general public. For further information, please contact Marissa MacLennan, Health Information and Resources Officer, telephone: 01851 701545, or email:


HIRS‘HIRS Western Isles’ on Facebook

The Facebook 6 month pilot of ‘HIRS Western Isles’ was completed amassing a fantastic 44,500 views and 141 fans.

‘HIRS Western Isles’ was aimed at promoting the wide range of new and existing materials available from the Health Information & Resources Service, based at Stornoway Health Centre.  This included leaflets and booklets, CDs and DVDs, Older People and Childminding project boxes, conference equipment, contraceptive supplies, anatomical charts and display models.  In order to engage with as many visitors as possible, information was uploaded as a brief ‘snapshot’ accompanied by an image whenever possible, in easily understandable and non-NHS jargon language.

Facebook also proved a great promotional tool for a wide range of local and national events and campaigns, health-related groups, websites, services and general information.  This included the HI Project, Be Inspired (Dietetics), Community Mental Health Team, No Smoking Day, Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Group, Child Safety Week, Smokefree Hebrides, Men’s Health Week, Paths to Health, MS Society and Breastfeeding Awareness Week…. to name just a few.


Foyer imageImproving access to online health information and advice

To increase access to online health information and advice for young people who are homeless of unemployed in the Western Isles, NHSWI has funded laptops for the Western Isles Foyer.

NHS Western Isles’ HI (Health Information) Project provided three laptops to the Foyer Project, located at Bayhead in Stornoway. The Foyer Project was established to develop a housing, advice and information service to young people in the Western Isles and laptops were provided to increase their opportunity to health-related internet access.

The laptops have also proven invaluable to those undertaking the Foyer Project’s ‘Lifeshaper Programme’, which is aimed at helping young people who are homeless or not in education or employment to work towards a healthy, happier balanced lifestyle.

The 12 week programme is supported by NHS Western Isles’ Health Promotion Department, and focuses at the end of the programme on the next steps to securing and sustaining a tenancy, education, training and employment. Health Promotion also represents NHS Western Isles on the Western Isles Foyer’s Board of Directors.

Scott McNeil, Foyer Service Manager, said: “The support from the NHS Western Isles HI Project in provision of these laptop computers has been a great help for the project to be able to support the young people with whom we work. Young people on our Lifeshaper Programme are now able to direct their own study in areas which affect their life. These include mental health, information about alcohol and other substances, nutrition and healthy eating. Young people also conduct a personal project during the 12 weeks and the laptops help them to research and present this. The laptops also help develop the young people’s confidence in using information technology.”

Western Isles Foyer works in partnership with Aberdeen Foyer in piloting the Lifeshaper Programme in the Western Isles, and its partners include the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Tighean Innse Gall, Voluntary Action Lewis, Hebridean Housing Partnership, Skills Development Scotland, Lews Castle College and NHS Western Isles.

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