Folk in Shetland who call NHS 24 can now speak to a locally-based nurse whenever possible after the organisation set up a base within the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick.
As of last Wednesday at 6pm patients seeking out of hours medical assistance were put through to the nurse if she was available under a service previously put into practice successfully in Orkney, Falkirk, Fife and the Scottish Borders.
John Turner, chief executive of NHS 24, said: “We are delighted that NHS 24 now has a local service presence in Shetland, and we look forward to developing it further.
“We are very much aware of the healthcare needs of communities across Scotland. This local presence in Shetland is an important development to enable healthcare professionals to provide care closer to where patients need it.
“Patient safety is always our first priority and this commitment will allow patients to speak to a nurse based in Shetland wherever possible.”
Ralph Roberts, chief executive of NHS Shetland, said of the new NHS 24 service: “This development will expand the range of options for patients and carers in Shetland. Many local people who require clinical help or advice from NHS 24 will now be able to speak to a locally based nurse.”
NHS 24 is looking to recruit more Band 6 nurse practitioners on a permanent basis for the new service.
NHS 24 operates three regional contact centres in Aberdeen, Clydebank and South Queensferry and local centres in Glasgow, Inverness, Dundee, East Kilbride, Kilmarnock, Dumfries, Orkney, Falkirk, Fife and the Scottish Borders which support local NHS health boards and the Scottish Ambulance Service.