A community centre in Scotland will suspend its out-of-hours services and minor injuries unit on three days between Christmas and New Year due to a lack of advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs).
Portree Community Hospital, run by NHS Highland on the Isle of Skye off the northwest coast of Scotland, has announced that it will shut its minor injuries unit and out-of-hours urgent care centre on Boxing Day because of low staff cover from ANPs.
The services will also close early, at 6pm, on Wednesday 27 December, and at 8pm on New Year’s Eve.
A spokesman for NHS Highland, speaking to the Press and Journal, described the ‘severe staffing pressure’ as being the result of three recent resignations, alongside interviews with potential new recruits not materialising into appointments for the positions.
ANP posts are therefore being re-advertised, with interviews due to start on Monday 8 January.
He said: ‘While we appreciate this decision [to suspend services] will not be popular, it was felt that there is a greater risk of clinical error if Portree patients are managed remotely without a senior practitioner on site’.
He stressed that cover for the suspended services will be provided by the Dr MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in nearby Broadford, located on the island. There will be no change to emergency services over this period, with the Scottish Ambulance Service on hand to respond to 999 calls.
It is the second time in three months that the centre has had to suspend its out-of-hours care, after the service was closed for two days in September, with NHS Highland again citing an ‘extreme staffing situation’.