Changes to cardiac rehab in Inverness 'later in year'
Changes to how cardiac rehabilitation services are provided in Inverness could start to be made later this year.
NHS Highland has proposed relocating care provided at the Highland Heartbeat Centre at Raigmore Hospital to the city's Centre for Health Sciences.
It also plans to move the exercise element of rehabilitation into local leisure centres and other facilities.
However, campaigners are critical of the health board's handling of the closure of the Heartbeat Centre.
The We All Need the Heartbeat Campaign accuses NHS Highland, which could, subject to approval, make the changes by the end of September, of an "asset grab".
The centre was opened in 2005 after hundreds of thousands of pounds was raised through a public fundraising effort.
The rest of the money needed was provided by the British Heart Foundation.
NHS Highland, which plans to put the building to a new use, said the changes would help to improve cardiac rehabilitation.
A spokesman said moving services to the Centre for Health Sciences would allow collaborative working with other health specialists.
He said providing the exercise element at leisure centres would bring this part of the care into the communities where heart patients lived.
All the proposals are subject to approval by a committee at the health board.
The spokesman added: "Only after these plans are in place will the redesign services team at Raigmore then take over responsibility of the space currently occupied by the Heartbeat Centre."
A spokesman for the We All Need the Heartbeat Campaign said NHS Highland bosses were "continuing to drive a coach and horses through one of the greatest community charity initiated and paid for health initiatives ever set up in Scotland".