NHS Highland health and care system is under extreme pressure
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Health and social care across Highland, Argyll and Bute remains under significant pressure, according to NHS Highland.
A spokesman for the health board said: "Covid has not gone away, and we are also seeing a high number of people who are quite unwell, needing hospital treatment and are staying in hospital for longer.
"Raigmore Hospital in particular has been impacted by this with the elective programme continually assessed for those with most need and long waits in our A&E Department as we wait for available beds in order to admit patients.
"This weekend in particular, we are aware that the Etape cycling event is taking place in Highland, which we know will mean some unfortunate participants will require support from our Accident and Emergency services.
"During this time of intense pressure on our services we still want to ensure anyone needing advice, support and help does contact our services. We also want to ensure that they are accessing the right service that will be the most responsive and best support their needs.
"Anyone with a non-life-threatening condition who is considering attending A&E can call NHS 24 on 111, day or night, and they will be directed to the right NHS service for their needs. If you are concerned it is an emergency however, then please don’t hesitate, call 999 or go straight to A&E.
"We would also ask friends, families and carers of people in hospital to consider whether they might be able to provide some extra temporary help to their loved ones, to allow them to get home or to a safe place to continue their recovery, more quickly.
"Communities, friends and family already play a vital role in looking after people who need a little help to stay independent, and we are hugely grateful for that. We are asking families of people in hospital to be prepared for a conversation with our colleagues, which might include exploring ways they can support their loved ones."