A north-east MSP has backed calls to reinstate a minor injury unit.
The Insch War Memorial Hospital closed for all services last March to help resources go towards assisting with the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the services it offers is a minor injury unit, which has resulted in calls for the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership to re-open the facility.
The minor injury unit in Turriff also remains closed after also being suspended in March last year.
Now, West Aberdeenshire MSP Alexander Burnett has backed calls for the facility in Insch to re-open safely as the number of hospitalisations for Covid-19 are falling.
They were originally made by groups including the Friends of Insch Hospital and Bennachie Community Council.
A freedom of information request carried out by the MSP has shown that the Insch unit has treated more than 1,600 patients in the last five years, with 61 people treated in 2020 before it closed.
Mr Burnett said: “Thanks in no small part to the activities of the Friends, Insch War Memorial has continued to be a vital healthcare setting for almost 100 years.
“The importance of local hospitals has been underlined as larger healthcare settings are being used for vaccine delivery.
“Considering Aberdeenshire Council has just given health and social care a £1.45 million boost, I am asking the partnership to make that commitment now.
“Any running down of services will not be tolerated.
“The people of Insch, Strathdon, Rhynie and Alford must have this prized facility back in use.”
Across Aberdeenshire, there are currently three operational minor injury units (MIU), in Fraserburgh, Huntly and Peterhead.
Anyone who needs to access an MIU must call 111, regardless of where they live in the region.
A spokeswoman for the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Most of our community health & social care services have continued to operate throughout our response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are still working to re-mobilise those services which were paused however we must do this in a safe and planned for way whilst still recognising the great pressure on services and staff.
“Supporting the vaccination programme is currently one of our top priorities and to do that we need to use all of the resources at our disposal.
“Working with communities and people with lived experience to re-build and re-imagine community based health and social care services over the coming months and years will be the core of the work we, as a partnership, do.
“The future of all of our services will be shaped by what we have learned throughout the last year as well as national and local developments.”