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RNI community hospital reopens to patients after fears its closure last year for maintenance sparking fears it spelt the end of the facility

By Scott Maclennan

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Royal Northern Infirmary Community Hospital, Inverness.
Royal Northern Infirmary Community Hospital, Inverness.

NHS Highland has confirmed that the RNI Community Hospital has reopened to patients after it was closed last summer sparking fears that it would never reopen its doors.

The reopening is likely to be warmly welcomed by locals, clinicians and unions who all feared the loss of much used and much loved facility.

The RNI hospital was closed for maintenance and ready it for Covid but the health board was adamant in the face of criticism that it would reopen.

Such were the concerns that local MP Drew Hendry and MSP Fergus Ewing sought a meeting with health board bosses to seek reassurances that this was not the end of the RNI.

But contrary to concerns the board has held to its original plan and the hospital reopened its doors to patients on January 5 as part of the wider remobilisation of services.

A NHS Highland spokeswoman said: "The RNI reopened on January 5 and is being used as a community hospital for patients requiring rehabilitation.

"This links in with our remobilisation of services plan."

Mr Ewing said: “This is welcome news and responds to many constituents’ requests that this hospital provision and its facilities should be used, especially during the Covid pandemic.

“I am grateful to NHS Highland and its staff who have made this happen and hope that it will serve Inverness and the Highlands well in providing rehabilitation services.”

Mr Hendry was also delighted, saying: “Community hospitals are playing a vital role in supporting patients across the Highlands.

“I am very glad that this historic and much-loved city hospital is back up and running, providing such an essential local service as we continue to deal with the impacts of Covid on top of the usual demands on NHS services.”

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