NHS Ayrshire and Arran has postpone non-urgent surgery at their hospitals due to the rise in Coronavirus cases.

Almost 150 NHS Ayrshire and Arran staff are currently self-isolating.

The health board revealed that during the past week, 144 of its staff had been forced to self-isolate at home.

Health boards across the country are under extreme pressure due to the new faster spreading variant of coronavirus as cases continue to rise and hospital admissions increase.

Health chiefs admitted that ‘staff absence’ was a factor in why the service was ‘currently stretched’.

Dr Crawford McGuffie, medical director for NHS Ayrshire and Arran said: “NHS Ayrshire and Arran has prepared extensively to deal with COVID-19 and continues to work to ensure we have the right resources, equipment and staffing in place.

“We currently have 144 staff self-isolating at home."

 “This phase of the pandemic is having the greatest impact on our communities in terms of positive cases, numbers admitted to hospital and sadly deaths. This is placing great strain on every aspect of the system.

“To ensure that we are able to provide care to the most urgent cases, emergency surgery will still go ahead, and where possible, planned cancer surgeries will also take place.

“Our clinical staff will liaise closely with patients who are impacted and we very much appreciate the understanding of members of the public in these challenging times.

"Patients should be reassured that their safety is our number one priority and we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that any risk as a result of exposure to COVID-19 is minimised.

“I would like to thank the public for their continued support at this time.

"It is important that we remember the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19): new persistent cough; high temperature; and / or loss of taste and smell. Anyone who develops any of these symptoms should book a test and self-isolate immediately."