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Friday, 15 September 2017

Portree Hospital nurses asked to do catering duties in 'extreme' staff shortage

Written by The Press Association

Hospital nurses are having to take on catering duties because of "extreme" staffing issues.

The move at Portree Hospital on Skye has been branded "completely inappropriate" and raised fears over patient safety.

NHS Highland asked the nurses to do the work of kitchen staff as they had been moved to another site to cover for a lack of workers.

Councillor for the area Ronald MacDonald said: "I think it's completely inappropriate to ask nurses to do this.

"It takes them away from their duties, so it must be compromising safety.

"In the meantime, we could have a major incident which isn't covered properly."

The island off the west coast of Scotland has two hospital sites - one in Broadford's Mackinnon Memorial Hospital and the one in Portree, both of which are struggling with staffing issues.

As the Mackinnon Hospital has more patients, catering workers were asked to move there temporarily.

The nurses agreed to cover for them, meaning they would be reheating food to be served.

A spokesman for NHS Highland said: "NHS Highland is currently experiencing extreme staffing shortages between the two hospital sites on the Isle of Skye (Broadford's Mackinnon Memorial Hospital and Portree Hospital), with catering being one of these.

"As a result of this, the Board has had to temporarily move staff to cover Mackinnon catering as we have more patients there. Because we only have a few in-patients in Portree, the nursing staff there have been asked to support this situation.

"The staff have agreed to do this as there are so few patients and because it is not full meal preparation, rather simple re-heating of food which they serve to the patients."

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