WARD restrictions at Inverness’s psychiatric hospital are to remain in place after NHS Highland was unable to resolve a staff shortage.
The adult admission bed complement at New Craigs Hospital was reduced from 54 to 48 last month because of insufficient staff to look after patients.
Michael Pererar, the health board’s general manager for mental health services, said the recruitment of 10 new nurses due to start this month would go "some way" to addressing the problem, but bosses have now confirmed they still do not feel able to lift the restriction.
Following a meeting this Monday a spokesman for NHS Highland said: "We met to review whether we could safely reopen the beds and the view of the service managers is that the staffing situation has not yet been resolved."
They said that in fact eight rather than 10 new nurses are now due to start at the hospital this month and that "overall vacancies and sickness levels remain too high" for them to lift restrictions yet.
A national advert for new staff issued attracted just one applicant, he said, and health bosses are now pinning their hopes on a London jobs fair they will attend on October 1.
A member of hospital staff who previously spoke to the Courier anonymously described New Craigs as being "at crisis point".