Scottish Conservative politicians Councillor John Duff and Murdo Fraser MSP have expressed their concerns at the announcement that opening hours at Pitlochry Minor Injury and Illness Unit (MIIU) will be cut.
Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership has announced that the new hours will be from 9am-4.30pm, Monday to Sunday, for the next four weeks. The move came into effect from February 5.
Cllr Duff, who represents the Highland ward for the Scottish Conservatives, criticised the move to slash the opening hours at Pitlochry MIIU.
He said: “It is extremely disappointing that once again Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership has had to cut the hours of opening at the Minor Injury and Illness Unit in Pitlochry.
This area already scores very low in terms of residents’ ability to access such services and reducing the availability of the MIIU over the next four weeks only adds to the problem.
“Local people deserve much better.”
He continued: “The nursing staff at the unit do a great job and need their time off. However, the challenges of recruiting nurses to work in areas such as this have been a continual source of difficulty at the MIIU and elsewhere across Scotland for far too long.
“This situation needs to be resolved quickly and I call on NHS Tayside and the Scottish Government to train and recruit the nurses required to give local residents and visitors to Highland Perthshire access to the services they need.”
And Mr Fraser, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, added: “Once again, residents in the Pitlochry area are having to endure cuts to the opening hours at Pitlochry MIIU, which is shocking. The unit previously had to cut its opening hours back in May last year so this latest announcement will be met with a lot of concern from local residents.
“Again, the reason given is due to ‘recruitment challenges’ for nursing staff, which highlights the necessity for the Scottish Government and NHS Tayside to sit down and sort out this staffing problem.”