NHS Highland has said that
a “national shortage of ultrasonographers” has forced it to transfer the ultrasound service it provides at the Mackinnon Memorial Hospital in Skye to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
The ultrasonographer based at the Broadford hospital will retire on 28th February but NHS Highland has been unable to recruit a replacement. The service will therefore be transferred to Inverness on 1st March.
“This situation is typical of the problems we have been facing in recruiting and retaining specialist staff,” said NHS Highland area manager Tracy Ligema. “There is a national shortage of ultrasonographers and recruitment is difficult everywhere, but the problem is particularly acute in remote and rural areas.
“There has been a similar situation at the Belford Hospital in Fort William, where the ultrasound service currently requires locum support following inability to recruit to the vacant post there. Unfortunately, we have been unable to attract even locum cover for Skye.”
The move will mean that some patients who require priority ultrasound examination will be taken by the Scottish Ambulance Service from Skye to Inverness.
Ms Ligema added: “We will continue to attempt to recruit and we hope to reinstate the service in Skye as soon as possible. Until we do so, we have no alternative but to transfer the service to ensure that patients receive the procedures required and regret any inconvenience this will cause patients and their families.”