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Birth services suspended by hospital over staff shortages

Dr MacKinnnon Memorial Hospital on Skye hopes to fill midwifery posts by early next year.

Hospital: Midwifery services will still be available (file pic).
Hospital: Midwifery services will still be available (file pic). Richard Dorrell

Birth services at a hospital on Skye have been temporarily suspended due to staff shortages.

NHS Highland said services at the Dr MacKinnnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford have been stopped until more staff can be recruited.

Expectant mothers will face a 89-mile journey to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness but the health board said there were currently no women in the area due to give birth.

The temporary suspension came into force on Tuesday and also covers the out of hours (OOH) midwifery service for Skye and Lochalsh.

Midwifery services will still be available at Broadford maternity unit from 9am to 5pm seven days a week.

Sarah McLeod, lead midwife for Skye and Lochalsh, said: "At the present time, we must ensure that we continue to provide the normal daily midwifery service for women and babies on a scheduled basis.

"Due to unexpected staff absence and vacancies, there are insufficient midwives to cover a local birth and OOH service safely.

"We are endeavouring to find support via the staff bank, however, this means we will be unable to maintain a full 24/7 service for the time being."

She added: "The suspension of this part of our service will only be temporary.

"We are currently in the midst of a recruitment process and hope to have two new midwives in post as soon as possible, certainly by early next year."

Ms McLeod apologised for any inconvenience and said it was a "difficult decision".

She said the health board is working with local medical teams and the Scottish Ambulance Service to help support those affected.

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