Pregnant women in Skye and Lochalsh must now travel to Inverness to have their babies after local birth services at Broadford’s Dr MacKinnon Memorial Hospital were suspended.
NHS Highland has also suspended the out of hours midwifery service for Skye and Lochalsh – citing a “temporary but significant shortage of available midwives.”
The health board said they expected the service changes – which came into force today (Tuesday 21st November) – to be in place for at least a month.
Midwifery services will now only be available during normal working hours from 9pm-5pm, seven days a week.
Sarah McLeod, lead midwife for Skye and Lochalsh, said: “At the present time, we must ensure that we continue to provide the normal daily midwifery service for women and babies on a scheduled basis.
“Due to unexpected staff absence and vacancies, there are insufficient midwives to cover a local birth and OOHs service safely. We are endeavouring to find support via the staff bank; however, this means we will be unable to maintain a full 24/7 service for the time being.
“The suspension of this part of our service will only be temporary. We are currently in the midst of a recruitment process and hope to have two new midwives in post as soon as possible, certainly by early next year.”