CHRONIC staffing shortages and a run of seasonal illnesses have led to a two week suspension in the daytime service at the minor injuries unit at Dunbar Hospital in Thurso.
From Monday, casualties are going to have to travel to Caithness General Hospital in Wick.
If it is not an emergency, from 7am to 7pm, patients with minor injuries should attend the casualty unit in the Wick hospital.
In the case of an emergency, people are being advised to dial 999 as usual.
There have been a number of breaks in Dunbar's out-of-hours service over the past couple of months but it is not affected by this latest change.
Mike Flavell, NHS Highland’s Caithness district manager said: “During the next two weeks staffing at the Dunbar is very challenging and we are not able to provide a 24/7 minor injuries unit service.
“One of the issues is that lately there has been a lot of activity and a high percentage of sick children in west Caithness overnight.
"It is much safer for children to be seen at the Dunbar overnight rather than at home for timely commencement of assessment and treatment by the Dunbar nurses for conditions such as asthma while waiting for the doctor.
“Because of current staffing pressures we can’t run the 24/7 and the out-of-hours centre overnight.
"The safest option is to have these children seen in the Dunbar by nurses and the out-of-hours GP.
“The emergency department at Wick will be able to look at minor injuries/illness, or the patients can wait until the minor injuries unit opens at night.”