THE temporary closure of the minor injuries unit at the Dunbar Hospital in Thurso is unacceptable, a far north health campaigner is claiming.
Bill Fernie, chairman of the Caithness Health Action Team (Chat) hit out yesterday after the unit was closed again on Saturday and Sunday nights due to staffing issues.
Mr Fernie revealed that Chat is to raise the matter when representatives meet with Scottish health minister Shona Robison on Wednesday.
Mr Fernie said: “The temporary closure of this unit is unacceptable and is a recent phenomenon. I don’t recall this being the case a number of years ago.
“It appears to be a staffing problem and I see what NHS Highland is saying about doing this so the inpatient unit can stay open. But if they can’t cover contingencies like sick leave then there is something fundamentally wrong with the system.”
A spokesman for NHS Highland said: “A combination of staff illness and vacancies has contributed to the need to close the unit at the Dunbar overnight on January 27 and 28.
“ NHS Highland does not take any decision to close a service lightly, but patient safety is of paramount importance. Recruitment is challenging and we are actively recruiting for nurses across all specialities to avoid having to close the minor injuries unit in future.”