Wards for the treatment of respiratory patients have been moved into the main tower of Raigmore Hospital in Invernesss as part of a £30million upgrade.
NHS Highland said that the move will bring the ward closer to other specialist services.
It’s part of a three year project to upgrade the hospital, with the former respiratory area – Ward 11 – now in use as a community ward.
This is being used to house adult patients who are no longer in need of acute care but are not ready to be discharged.
This short-term measure, which was taken to help improve the flow of patients during what has been a particularly busy time at Raigmore, is likely to be in place until the end of March.
NHS Highland say that this is a short term measure which they hope will relieve the pressures on the flow of patients in other parts of the hospital.
Kate Patience Quaite, lead nurse who will manage the community ward, said: “We transferred patients into the new community ward last week and are pleased with how things have gone.
“We have worked very closely with patients, families and colleagues in Raigmore to make this happen and can see many benefits of this approach.”
Consultant respiratory physician Dr Stephen Thomas added: “The move, which involved a great deal of hard work for those involved, went as smoothly as could have been hoped and the patients and staff have said they are very pleased with the new facilities.”
The changes are the latest in a series of ward alterations and additions of new surgical areas.
Progress has also been made on replacing or reinforcing some of the infrastructure that supports the hospital, including a new, £3million biomass heating plant.
Linda Kirkland, interim director of operations at Raigmore, said: “The hospital has been on its current site for 30 years now. While it is not at the stage of needing to be replaced, significant work is required to upgrade it, and is being carried out, across all clinical areas.
“The investment of more than £30million over three years will greatly improve the facilities, provides an opportunity to co-locate wards and ensure that we can deliver first-class healthcare in modern facilities for years to come.”