Weather / Health staff kept busy amid rise in ice and snow accidents

Sledging at the Knab on sunny Sunday, 7 February. Photo by John Kelsey.

NHS Shetland is experiencing a rise in the number of people seeking help for injuries sustained as a result of accidents on the snow and ice – with plenty of broken bones and sprains.

Senior charge nurse in the Gilbert Bain Hospital’s A&E Aimee Sutherland said over 40 people have come forward with ice/snow related injuries since the cold spell began.

This has included some sledging incidents, and people falling on ice. While the health board has been kept busy, so has the ambulance service.

“It’s an increase on previous years due to the prolonged cold spell we have been experiencing,” Sutherland said.

“Also, due to current Covid restrictions there are possibly more people not working and also most children are not in school giving opportunities and time to enjoy outdoor activities.”

The Gilbert Bain Hospital.

Shetland has been experiencing a lengthy cold spell with little or no wind that has led to snow laying, and plenty of ice forming.


She said broken bones, strains and sprains and head injuries due to slips on ice have been the most common accidents, as well as sledging incidents.

There have been a small number of incidents which have required surgery and transfer to the mainland.

NHS Shetland has also been encouraging people to ‘walk like a penguin’ in an effort to reduce the chance of slips.

“This involves leaning your body forward to ensure that your weight rests on your front leg,” Sutherland said.

“This helps to keep balance, as more falls are caused on ice when the body weight is split evenly, as per a normal walk.”

The nurse said that the busy council gritters are doing a “marvellous jobs on both roads and footpaths”.

Earlier this week Shetland Islands Council said that a winter’s worth of salt has been used since Christmas, with gritters covering tens of thousands of miles.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Sutherland, meanwhile, reminded folk – including adults – to be aware of their surroundings when out sledging.

Sales of sledges in Shetland have snowballed in recent weeks, with Harry’s Department Store and Thulecraft both regularly selling out.

“Sledging is great fun for both adults and children and we certainly don’t want to stop people enjoying themselves,” Sutherland said.

“However, people just need to be aware of their surroundings when sledging and any potential hazards – the speed that can be gathered when sledging and, also, that a lot of snow if now compacted into ice. So have fun, but be safe.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.