NHS Highland have this afternoon (Monday 12th July) announced the temporary suspension of the urgent care centre at Portree Hospital.
The local health authority has cited ongoing staff pressures which it says “directly impacts patient safety”.
The closures will come into effect from 8 pm on Tuesday 13th July through to 8 am on Wednesday 14th July, and again from 8 pm on Wednesday 14th July until 8 am on Thursday 15th July.
NHS Highland has said that urgent care can still be accessed during this time by calling NHS24 on 111.
The statement read: “The decision has been made following ongoing staffing pressures which directly impacts patient safety. The urgent care centre will be open between 8 am and 8 pm on both Tuesday and Wednesday. The normal 24-hour opening will resume from 8 am on Thursday, 15th July.
“NHS Highland would like to assure the public that this decision was not taken lightly. The management team exhausted all avenues to try and provide cover and will continue to take every possible action to maintain services and fill vacant shifts.
“There is no change to accessing emergency services and people should dial 999 if they experience a medical emergency and the Scottish Ambulance Service will respond as appropriate.
“When the Portree Unit is not open cover will be provided by the Rural Emergency Practitioner Team based at the Dr MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford.”
The announcement by the health board comes less than a week after NHS Highland declared a code black status at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness as cases across the region escalated to 100 per day.
The decision came as the Highland’s main hospital reached capacity and some staff were forced to self-isolate at home.
At present this means there are no available beds for new admissions from A&E, while all non-elective surgeries have also been cancelled.
Article by Adam Gordon and image by Willie Urquhart.