Politicians have reacted to NHS Ayrshire & Arran's explanation of why Ayr Hospital's remaining intensive care beds were moved to Crosshouse.

We revealed last week that NHS chief executive Claire Burden said the inability to recruit intensive care specialists to Ayr played a major part in the decision, which will now be reviewed annually.

She warned not moving the beds could have led to an "unplanned collapse" of the Ayr service.

Ayr's MSP Siobhian Brown and MP Allan Dorans both said they understood that the move related to patient safety, but said they would be monitoring it to ensure the loss of the intensive care unit (ICU) beds was only temporary.

Ms Brown said: "This move has been taken for patient safety and a high level of care will still be delivered in the newly formed critical care unit.

"Although the news is disappointing, I am aware of the challenges NHS Ayrshire and Arran Health Board is facing in the recruitment of senior staff. I trust they are taking steps to address these challenges.

“Ayr Hospital delivers vital care in this area and as I have said before should there be any threat to wider services, I would be the first to oppose these.

"I continue to urge NHS Ayrshire and Arran to be transparent with plans and challenges.

"This will provide reassurance to patients, the wider community, and the staff, who do a wonderful job in sometime difficult circumstances.”

Mr Dorans, the MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, added: "With other political colleagues, I have had meetings with Claire Burden and other senior medical professionals from the AAHB over the course of the last year regarding the transferring of these ICU beds from Ayr to Crosshouse Hospital.

"From these conversations and briefings I have received, I am assured that all other options to provide the best ongoing care at both hospitals have been explored.

"I respect their extensive professional knowledge, experience and judgement in these circumstances, but will be monitoring this situation to ensure that this is a temporary arrangement, which will be kept under constant review."

Ms Burden told the Ayrshire and Arran health board that the move of ICU beds from Ayr to Crosshouse was "required to maintain the safety and sustainability of critical care services’.

Her report revealed the ICU facility in Ayr was the smallest in the UK and was "therefore not attractive to consultants in ICM".

Ayr was also unusual in the fact that it was the only hospital requiring consultant anaesthetists to carry out intensive care duties, whether or not they had undergone specialist training.

The decision to move the beds had sparked concern from politicians and the public who said they feared it would put the lives of patients in South Ayrshire at risk.