Almost 150 NHS Ayrshire and Arran staff are currently self-isolating.

The health board revealed that as of Friday, January 8, 144 of its staff had been forced to self-isolate at home.

Health boards across the country are under severe pressure due to the new faster spreading variant of coronavirus as cases continue to rise and hospital admissions increase.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran was at 96 per cent of its COVID capacity last week with health chiefs admitting that ‘staff absence’ was a factor in why the service was ‘currently stretched’.

Dr Crawford McGuffie, medical director for NHS Ayrshire and Arran said: “NHS Ayrshire and Arran has prepared extensively to deal with COVID-19 and continues to work to ensure we have the right resources, equipment and staffing in place.

“As of Friday, January 8, we currently have 144 staff self-isolating at home."