Patients are having to wait outside hospitals in Ayrshire amid ongoing pressures to the service, according to the health board.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran (AAA) say they are currently experiencing high demand for acute care services in both University Hospitals Ayr and Crosshouse.

Despite the pressures, plans are in place to remove an unconfirmed number of beds from Ayr Hospital, which were to be used during the pandemic.

This decision has been branded as "unacceptable" by some.

The Scottish Government did not want to comment further on this matter.

NHS AAA chief executive Claire Burden is reassuring "our staff and patients that there is no planned or forecast reduction in our core hospital bed base at University Hospitals Ayr or Crosshouse."

She added: "I appreciate at this time that our ambitions to close the historical Covid-19 beds, as well as unfunded beds, in our system, will come under greater pressure."

Intensive care beds at Ayr Hospital will also be moved to Crosshouse.

NHS AAA say that critical care services will still be offered at both hospitals, but the three current level 3 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in University Hospital Ayr will transfer to Crosshouse on an interim basis.

Now, the health board has said that hospitals are at full capacity, due to "the steady need for new emergency admissions against a backdrop of a reduced daily discharge rate."

Ms Burden added: "More than 150 new patients are in the emergency department and the assessment unit, all needing to be assessed for their onward care plans.

"We also have 348 patients whose length of stay is now more than 14 days. This is at least 100 patients more than our system is able to cope with."

In response to these pressures, medical, nursing and Allied Health Professions (AHP) staff from across the Ayrshire hospital sites are working extremely hard to support the daily decongestion of Emergency Departments, Combined Assessment Units and wards.

Ms Burden added: "We are incredibly grateful for the dedication and professionalism offered every day by every staff member, and I would like to thank the many staff who have already re-arranged or may need to re-arrange the way they work to support other parts of our system.

"We remain determined to help make a difference in reducing long-standing pressure points in our system.”