A st Judes hospital in the Scottish Highlands has been closed by the Royal Free, meaning its staff are being replaced by a “slightly more conservative” group of people.
The closure means the hospital will be shut until January, when it will reopen.
The decision was taken after St Jude Health and Hospitals Board (SJHB) chairman John MacDonald said it was “not sustainable to continue providing high-quality care”.
He said the decision was a “real reflection of the strain that the situation has placed on the staff”.SJHBs decision means staff will be sent home and a number of operations will be suspended, which will result in a reduction in staffing levels.
It comes as St Judes Health and Health Boards (SJJHBs) chief executive, Dr John MacDonald, said the closure of the hospital was “an unavoidable consequence” of the current funding situation.
“It is not sustainable to maintain the current level of services, which is not in the best interests of patients, staff or society,” he said.SJHKB chief executive officer, John MacDonald.
“There will be a significant reduction in patient care and we will be providing less intensive and less specialist care in the hospital.”
Mr MacDonald said the hospital’s current “low number of beds” was a result of the closures.
“We have had to re-educate staff in our hospitals,” he told BBC Scotland.
“As a result, there will be an increase in staffing as we have to ensure that we have sufficient beds to meet the demands of our patients.”
He added: “It will be difficult to sustain that level of service if we cannot maintain the number of patients that we can treat.”
St Jude is in an extremely difficult situation and will need to close for a number, if not a number and a degree of time, before the new staff can be brought in.”SJHFB chief officer, Dr Peter Wilson.
The announcement follows news that the Edinburgh and Dumfries hospitals will be closed on January 16.
A spokesperson for Edinburgh and Edinburgh University Hospitals NHS Trust said the closures would not affect the services of other patients.
The Scottish Government has promised to provide £25 million in extra funding for NHS hospitals, including to the st Jules hospital.
It is the third closure of a hospital in Scotland in a week, following at least two closures in London and Glasgow.
A spokesman for Edinburgh University Hospital NHS Trust confirmed that the hospital would be closed for three weeks.