Moving critical ICU beds from Ayr Hospital to Crosshouse hospital could take up to a year to complete, according to health bosses.

The move is being carried through as a temporary fixture, due to sustainability difficulties on the current critical care service model at Ayr Hospital.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran say that critical care services will still be offered at both hospitals, but the three current level 3 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in University Hospital Ayr will transfer to Crosshouse on an interim basis.

The news comes just three months after Scottish Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, and the Ayrshire health board said there were "absolutely no plans" to move ICU services away from Ayr.

Joanne Edwards, director of acute services at NHS Ayrshire and Arran said the move was being done to "reduce the likelihood of an emergency staffing crisis."

Ms Edwards added: "It is important to note that we are not ‘losing’ any beds. The three ICU beds in Ayr will be added to the existing ICU bed footprint in Crosshouse.

"The decision to change the service is ‘interim’ as opposed to ‘permanent’ as we continue to seek a sustainable solution to the workforce challenges that the service is facing. 

"To secure the safety and sustainability of critical care services across the organisation, we need to plan to facilitate changes to how the services operate. 

"Relocating the three ICU beds from University Hospital Ayr to University Hospital Crosshouse will take between six to 12 months so that the space at University Hospital Crosshouse can be adapted to accommodate the additional bed."