More than 20 new graduate nurses will begin work in the coming weeks to tackle a staffing crisis at an Aberdeen hospital.
Royal Cornhill Hospital has experienced a “persistent inability” to recruit nurses to meet the needs of the region, according to a new report.
The nursing shortfall presents a “significant risk” to delivering services safely, the report adds.
And in August, the Evening Express revealed two dementia units at Cornhill were to close for a year over safety concerns.
The report reveals 21 graduate nurses will start working at the hospital in the coming weeks in an effort to tackle the staffing gap.
It adds: “Agency staff initially recruited to support the arrival of these nurses have had their contracts extended until the end of March 2019.
“Currently we are using 14 additional qualified agency nursing staff to support the staffing position.”
Loirston Ward and Lochhead Day Hospital – which were helping 38 dementia patients – shut amid warnings from hospital bosses that “more difficult decisions” would be ahead unless more mental health nurses could be recruited.
The move will release the equivalent of around 27 nurses to support the staffing of the newly reconfigured wards.
Work is under way to find the “appropriate destination” within the hospital for patients impacted by the changes – which will see the facility’s capacity fall from 139 beds to 124 beds.
The hospital had more than 55 registered trained nursing vacancies in August, amounting to 22% of its workforce.
Last month, the Scottish Government pledged to increase support for mental health services over the next 12 months.
Its Programme for Government has committed £250 million of new funding into mental health services.