Six beds are to reopen in Portree Hospital by 2019

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image captionThe hospital has faced recruitment issues in the past, due to a lack of suitable applicants

NHS Highland plans to reopen six beds in Portree Hospital by May 2019.

This development will take the total number of beds in the hospital to 12.

The Isle of Skye hospital has faced recruitment issues in the past, due to a lack of suitable applicants, and the availability of appropriate affordable accommodation.

To make sure the beds will be retained, the NHS hopes to employ two new members of staff to safely monitor and maintain the beds.

'We have listened'

NHS Highland's head of community services for the area Tracy Ligema said: "It is clear that ensuring that an appropriate number of beds are retained at Portree Hospital, until the new proposals in the overall redesign are in place, is of paramount importance to the community."

Ms Ligema told a review group that she was willing to go ahead and reopen the beds.

"I am happy to say that we have listened. Recruitment is still an issue from our perspective and we look forward to working with the community to try to resolve that," she added.

Ms Ligema asked for the communities's support in ensuring that the recruitment process had the best chance of success.

Care recommendations

Fay Thompson, who will be leading the work-stream on behalf of the community, said: "I am delighted that NHS Highland have agreed to open all twelve beds at Portree Hospital.

"This is a major step forward in the implementation of the Ritchie recommendations and a very welcome development in terms of adequate provision of beds in North Skye."

The NHS hopes that recommendations made by Sir Lewis Ritchie on urgent and emergency care, will be implemented by May 2019.

Sir Lewis, who previously led a major review of health provisions in Skye, is set to return to Skye on 3 and 4 December to review progress on his recommendations.

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