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Recruitment crisis leads to hospital bed reduction

Gilbert Bain HospitalGilbert Bain Hospital.

NHS Shetland has been forced to temporarily close around a quarter of its beds in ward three at Lerwick’s Gilbert Bain Hospital due to staff shortages.

Health board chief executive Ralph Roberts said the measure to reduce bed numbers in the medical ward from 22 to 16 had to be implemented to maintain safe staffing levels and to ensure that patients cared for continued to receive high levels of nursing care.

The hospital has been running with an occupancy rate of around 60 per cent.

“This step has been taken because we have a large number of nursing vacancies at the moment – some due to members of our team being on maternity leave, particularly from ward three,” Roberts said.

“Despite every effort to recruit to these vacancies we still have some open posts. Patient safety is our first priority and, with nursing vacancies, steps have to be taken to ensure the care we provide is completely safe.

“This is a temporary situation which will be kept under review. We do not expect this to impact on our ability to admit any patient who needs hospital care and inpatient care will continue to be available across wards one, three and the maternity unit.”