Hospital ward closures due to “no funding” could see the loss of over 80 beds in the next three weeks.
NHS services in Ayrshire and Arran confirmed there is an “ongoing approach” to reduce beds that were opened to provide additional capacity to patients during the pandemic.
An employee of Station 10, in Ayr Hospital, has been told they will be redeployed to a different department following the closure of the ward.
The staff member, who does not wish to be named, said the hospital is already struggling with patient capacity and the loss of further beds will “only make things worse”.
“The NHS is already on its knees”, they told STV News.
“In upwards of 80 bed spaces are due to close in the next few weeks, which will result in even longer wait times at A&E.
“Ambulances currently queue outside, patients are waiting to be admitted and due to bed shortages we already struggle to admit these patients.
“We have patients who are waiting on packages of care and have been here for months, bed blocking which in turn affects wait times, and patients being treated in corridors and in the back of ambulances as it currently stands.
“This is before these closures take place.
“Things are only going to get worse.
“We can’t possibly close these stations when we are already short on beds, the wait times will prove this. The staff are there to work on these wards so this is not an issue.
“We have been told we will be redeployed so job security is not the problem, but we can all see the impact this is going to have on the hospital.
“We have been advised there is no funding to keep our ward open.”
Joanne Edwards, director of acute services at the NHS, said the reduction in beds will be “safely planned across the system.”
She said: “NHS Ayrshire & Arran has an ongoing approach to reducing beds that were opened to provide additional capacity during the pandemic. These additional beds were opened across our hospital system and so the reduction in beds will be safely planned across the system and not just at University Hospital Ayr.
“As we progress with the reduction, staff currently working in those areas will be offered roles in other wards. We have high vacancies across the system and so there will be no detriment to staff.
“These bed closures are not linked to the interim decision to move level three Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds to University Hospital Crosshouse.”
Conservative MSP Sharon Dowey branded the move “a disgrace” and urged the SNP to intervene and reverse the decision.
She said: “Reducing the number of hospital beds for patients is a disgrace, especially when our NHS is already in crisis.
“Humza Yousaf has been caught breaking his word to the people of Ayrshire.
“He personally promised me that local health services would not be reduced but it looks like he is too busy with his leadership bid to support our NHS.
“Cutting the number of beds and closing a ward is unacceptable.
“The SNP Government must intervene and reverse this decision. People across Ayrshire deserve to know there will be a hospital bed available if they need it.”
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