Ayr politicians have had their say on an incident at Ayr Hospital which led to a number of staff at a ward having to isolate after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

We told last week how staff at University Hospital Ayr’s radiology ward were isolating after a night out at Lochside House Hotel in New Cumnock on December 11.

It came as staff at a Cumnock surgery were advised by health bosses not to attend a function at the same venue on the same date

At the time, an NHS spokesperson said: “NHS Ayrshire and Arran have advised staff to be thoughtful about attending large gatherings and to continue to follow national guidance to the public such as wearing masks, handwashing and testing when out and about.”

An apparent mix-up meant that some NHS Ayrshire and Arran staff attended the Christmas night out at Lochside, whilst some didn’t.

Weighing in on the debate, Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans said of nights out: “Whilst there is no complete ban on Christmas nights out, I would reiterate comments made by the First Minister that to limit the spread of the virus, then we should all be limiting the number of contacts we are having and indeed stay at home as much as is feasible.

“It is very much a decision to be made by individuals, but I would urge people to avoid unnecessary contact at this time to keep us all safe.”

Speaking about the same incident, MSP Sharon Dowey said: “It’s clear that we are in a very difficult situation with the new variant. Public Health Scotland have advised that people should postpone their Christmas parties until after the festive period and if that’s the guidance, then that’s what I’ll be recommending to people.“If these reports about additional parties are true, then NHS Ayrshire and Arran need to have a blanket policy on Christmas parties in line with the guidance from Public Health Scotland.

“Our NHS staff have had an incredibly difficult year and will no doubt want to let their hair down but there can’t be one rule for one group of staff and a different one for another.

“With things as they are at the moment, I think everyone should be as careful as possible to protect loved ones and the NHS in the run-up to Christmas.”