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Nightshifts at Oban’s A&E unit are staffed by a single nurse but extra support is available if needed.
The reassurance has come from NHS Highland after concern about potential under-staffing overnight at the emergency unit was raised at the town’s recent community council meeting.
The member of public said he found it ‘shocking, deplorable and disgusting’ that a hospital like Oban could have just one nurse on duty late at night. He had experienced it first hand, he said.
‘We have tourist buses coming in at night, we have lorries coming and going. God forbid what would happen if we had a major incident. It’s impractical to have just one nurse on duty. I think it’s shocking, deplorable and disgusting,’ said the man.
Councillor Kieron Green, former chairperson of Argyll’s Integrated Joint Board (IJB) told the meeting he was sure the hospital would be in compliance with national guidelines for safe levels. If it was felt the hospital could not be safely staffed then action would be taken, he added.
A spokesman for NHS Highland told The Oban Times: ‘Within the hospital itself we have a wide range of highly skilled and experienced clinical and support staff who provide care for our patients 24 hours a day.
‘Overnight within our A&E Department we have a nurse permanently based there as well as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner on site to support, and there are a range of other clinical staff who are working overnight across the hospital who can be called upon to assist the A&E team.
‘In relation to a major incident we would implement our major incident plan and additional clinical staff are available to be called in from home at short notice to assist and we also have the clinical skills of our colleagues from the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service who provide critical care and transfer by air if required for patients in remote locations and at accident scenes.
‘Finally, we also regularly review and monitor our nursing staffing levels to ensure they are appropriate and meet the nationally agreed standards.