An extreme staffing shortage is affecting both Portree Hospital and Dr MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford. This shortage has compelled these Skye’s two hospitals to take drastic measures to try and deal with the problem. The catering staff at Portree Hospital has been moved temporarily to the Dr MacKinnon Memorial Hospital to provide cover. According to report from the nursing board the nursing staff at the Portree Hospital has accepted to reheat and serve food to the patient at the MacKinnon Hospital. The fact that nurses are cooking meals for the patients in the two hospitals on the island clearly shows how serious this problem is.
Another incident that shows how acute this shortage has affected the two hospitals is that two tourists were unable to get treatment at the Portree Hospital on Wednesday evening after they took their sick child there. The main reason that prevented the tourists from getting served is that the hospital had temporarily suspended out-of hours care because of staff shortages. This family was forced to travel 25.6 miles (41.2km) away in Broadford. The NHS Highland has taken time to apologise for the inconveniences caused by the suspension and has promised that the Portree services would be returning to normal on Thursday. The health board further said that staffing the two hospitals on the island has been very challenging.
The main reason why some nurses had to move MacKinnon is that this particular hospital has more patients. This was confirmed by a spokesman for NHS who said the board has to make a decision to move some of the nurses. Catering at MacKinnon had become a major challenge and therefore the nurses offered to support the catering section so that the patients can get to eat. The nurses are not doing full meal preparation; instead they are just reheating and serving the food to the patients. The fact that Portree Hospital has suspended the out-of-hour services has been criticised by different people including the local politicians. The board confirmed the shortage of staff has compelled the hospital to close provision of emergency medical services at 18:00 on Tuesday.
NHS Highland had also suspended new admissions at the Portree Hospital a month ago because of staff shortage. Earlier this week, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch SNP MSP Kate Forbes termed the out-of-hours situation as unacceptable. Ronald MacDonald who is the Skye’s councilor had also criticised NHS Highland for failing to have a cover plan for Portree Hospital. It is expected that Mr. MacDonald and Margaret Davidson who is the Highland Council leader will next week meet Shona Robisnon who is the health secretary to raise their concerns regarding the hospital services on Skye.