NHS Ayrshire & Arran (AAA) bosses have said that the reduction of additional covid beds at Ayr Hospital will help reduce the strain on staff.

Plans are in place to remove beds from the hospital that were brought in to deal with the pressures of the pandemic.

NHS AAA's Joanne Edwards said the operating of these additional beds put more strain on staff members, as they were having to provide cover from other areas of the hospital.

The decision to remove the additional beds was not initially met with positive reviews, with MSP Sharon Dowey calling the decision "unacceptable".

However, it's now hoped that teams across the hospital will be able to better cope, now that they aren't needed to fill in for the covid beds.

Ms Edwards, Director of Acute Services at NHS Ayrshire & Arran said: "NHS Ayrshire & Arran has an ongoing approach to reducing additional beds that were opened to provide surge capacity and ensure compliance with pandemic guidance for infection control measures during the pandemic.

"These additional beds were opened across our entire hospital system and so the reduction in beds will be safely planned across the whole system and not just at University Hospital Ayr (UHA). There is no plan to reduce numbers of core beds across the system.

"These additional wards have been created and supported by stretching existing teams more thinly, with the addition of bank and agency staff."

Ms Edwards added: "Our core staff have worked incredibly hard to cover these additional wards, but our aim is to return to a safer and more sustainable way of working.

"As we progress with the reduction, staff currently working in impacted areas will be offered roles in other wards.  We have high vacancies across the system and there will be no detriment to staff.

"Our management and clinical leadership teams have remained entirely focused on taking action to ease the pressures on our health and care system and support patient and staff safety.

"We are incredibly grateful for the dedication and professionalism offered every day by our staff, and we will continue to communicate directly with all staff, in particular with those working in our additional wards at both UHA and at University Hospital Crosshouse."