The information on this site relating to COVID-19 is no longer being kept up-to-date.
For the latest information on COVID-19 in Shetland, please visit:

Service updates

Updates on what's on (or not) and where you can get help if your usual service isn't available

Remember to be wary of information coming out at a busy time like this - not everyone has the community's bets interests at heart and scammers can exploit people's worry, anxiety and desire to help others - see the scam alert bulletin for a reminder.

Gilbert Bain Hospital Visiting

Lerwick Health Centre

Due to operational reasons the opening times of the upper floor front door of Lerwick Health Centre (Podiatry Department, Lerwick GP Practice and the Community Nursing Team) will alter slightly from Monday, April 6.  The front door will now open at 9am instead of 8.30am and will close at 4.30pm instead of 5pm

Please note that the Lerwick Practice phone lines will be open as normal from 8.30am each morning.  The operational hours of the Podiatry Department and Community Nurse Department remain unchanged.


We are making some changes to the way we deliver our Maternity service in Shetland. This is in line with guidance from the Scottish Government to protect & safeguard patients and staff by reducing the transmission of COVID-19.

  • If you are attending Maternity for an appointment please do not come up to the ward as normal. Wait in your car and call 743012 to let us know you have arrived. We will let you know when it is safe for you to come up to Maternity. This is to ensure we are practicing safe social distancing.
  • Women should attend all antenatal appointments and ultrasound scans on their own (no children or partners). Please arrive only just before your appointment and make a prompt exit home upon the completion of your appointment.
  • Some of your appointments may be done over the phone or via video link should your midwife deem this appropriate.Your midwife will discuss this with you.
  • Please do not attend your appointment if you feel unwell or have any symptoms of COVID-19. Contact Maternity to inform us if this is the case.


Please be aware that these measures are being put in place to safeguard the public and staff in Maternity from the transmission of COVID-19.

  • For all antenatal appointments including ultrasound scans - please attend alone. Partners are not permitted access to Maternity for this.
  • We would encourage all women where appropriate to go home 6 hours after the birth of their baby providing they are feeling well and their baby is also well. This is safe to do so and in some cases may be the best option.
  • One birth partner is still absolutely allowed in maternity to support you through labour and can stay until 6 hours following the birth of your baby. After this point we ask that they go home and do not return until they come to collect you upon your discharge from maternity.
  • There is growing concern from women who think they are going to have to give birth alone without their birth partner. This is NOT the case. When women are in early labour they are encouraged to stay at home (which is the advice we give even outwith the COVID-19 outbreak). When in active labour one birth partner is allowed to accompany you as hightlighted above.
  • Birth partners who have any symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted in the hospital, however an alternative birth partner can accompany you.

We understand that this may not have been what you were anticipating your experience in Maternity to be like, however given the current circumstances these are necessary precautions which must be taken. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.


Podiatry - message from Chris Hamer, Podiatry manager

NHS Shetland Podiatry, as with other Scottish NHS Podiatry services, is operating under amended local, national and professional guidelines due to the COVID 19 pandemic.


NHS Shetland Podiatry, as with other Scottish NHS Podiatry services, is operating under amended local, national and professional guidelines due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

This has resulted in the suspension of all non urgent treatments.

Podiatry team members have identified and contacted those existing services users who have been triaged and assessed as potentially requiring continued treatment due to their foot health and medical needs.

All new referrals have also been triaged, assessed and contacted.

Information, education, signposting and advice is available to service users contacting the service where required.

Private Podiatry providers are also operating under amended clinical guidance.

NHS Podiatry services DO NOT provide personal foot care, eg nail cutting.

Information regarding personal foot care can be found at:

The College of Podiatry also has a website available to the public, which has helpful information on foot health:

The Scottish government health website also has useful information:

NHS Shetland Podiatry Services can be contacted:

01595 743317

Chris Hamer, Podiatry Manager


NHS Dental Services: COVID-19 Response

Routine dental care services in high street practices in Scotland have been suspended.

If you feel you have an URGENT dental need, in normal working hours, you should contact the practice with whom you are registered, who will provide advice, reassurance or telephone assessment.

DO NOT GO ALONG TO YOUR DENTIST – you should telephone your practice on their usual number. Your dentist will be able to give you advice, including on taking pain relief or prescribe antibiotics.

  • If your dentist confirms that you have an urgent dental need, if you have no symptoms of COVID-19, you will be offered an appointment at an urgent dental care centre.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 you will be contacted by staff from the designated COVID-19 urgent dental care centre.

Outside normal working hours, if feel you have an URGENT dental need, please contact NHS24 on 111.

You can find further advice regarding COVID-19 and what to do if you have symptoms on the NHS Inform Website.


Pharmacy Services - a message from Mrs Mary McFarlane, NHS Shetland Principal Pharmacist

If you have a telephone consultation with a nurse or doctor please be aware that it is likely to take a number of hours for the prescription to reach the community pharmacy and for it to be dispensed.
If you have the consultation in the morning go to the pharmacy in the afternoon.
If you have the consultation in the afternoon expect that it will be between 4-5pm at least before the prescription is in the pharmacy.
This is because the pharmacy drivers only collect prescriptions twice a day from the health centres in Lerwick and less frequently outside Lerwick.
If it is very urgent you may have to make an arrangement to collect the paper prescription from the health centre. The doctor or nurse will advise if this is necessary.
However in most instances it should be transferred by the drivers when they pick up.


NHS Physiotherapy Department

NHS Shetland's physiotherapy department is closed for routine out-patient appointments.
Once business returns to normal the team will be available for those who still feel they need help.
In the meantime there are lots of good resources online to help you manage your pain or condition:

  •  NHS Inform has good ideas on managing a variety of conditions, including self help guides and exercises to try for specific injured areas. 
  • The CSP (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy) has a great collection of physio approved resources about different condition including self-management advice to try
  • The Pain Toolkit has some helpful information, explanations, tips and ideas for managing pain

For older or less active people wanting to stay active at home but not sure where to start Physio have signposted us to these "Super Six" exercises to try - keep moving to stay well! If you'd rather watch how to do them, and heaer the instructions form an expert tune-in to our Falls Prevention coordinator, Shelley here.


Sexual Health Clinic

The sexual health clinic at the Gilbert Bain hospital will be a telephone only service for the duration of the pandemic. 

Clinic will be held every Monday, 6-8pm - call 01595 743128 during clinic hours for a telephone consultation or to arrange a videocall "Near Me" appointment.

The clinic will be staffed by one trained member of staff and a receptionist - please be patient if it is busy. Patients will be triaged and assessed over the phone, and further treatment, assessment, prescriptions or ongoing care will be arranged as required.

Eye emergencies update

For emergency eye care, please telephone your own optometrist/optician who will give you advice and, if absolutely needed, arrange for you to be seen. Please note, all optometry practices are currently closed but continue to monitor phone lines.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (dry cough/fever) and you have an eye emergency, please contact 111.

In order to help reduce the transmission of Covid-19, all Optical practices in Scotland have been instructed to cease provision of routine eye examinations as of Monday 23rd March.

In line with this instruction all three optical practices (ICare Shetland, Miller Opticians and Specsavers Opticians) in Shetland will be cancelling all existing routine appointments and will be unable to take any additional bookings at this time except for patients requiring emergency care.  We will however be available by telephone to handle any other requests.

Patients requiring emergency eye care should call their Optician and follow the instructions given over the phone or via answer phone message. A telephone consultation will be arranged with an Optometrist to discuss your problems who will then decide if it is necessary to make an appointment in practice in line with current clinical guidelines. 

GP's and A&E are extremely busy at this time.  Please help to ease the current pressures on the NHS by making your Optometrist your first port of call for any eye emergencies.

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this will cause and we will endeavour to keep everyone updated with regards any changes in care provision as the situation progresses.

ICare Shetland, Miller Opticians, Specsavers Opticians

Further press release from Specsavers


NHS Shetland Dementia Services

No face-to-face appointments, except in an emergency, in line with distancing guidance. For existing patients with clinical concerns contact your usual nurse. For general queries or concerns contcat the Alzheimer Scotland 24 hour freephone helpline on 0808 808 3000. 

Some top tips for people with dementia and carers, from Alzheimer's Scotland here.

District Nursing service

The District Nursing service has commenced a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week shift service from today, Monday, March 30.

Individuals who need to access the District Nursing service can do this via the health centres during normal working hours (9am-5pm Monday to Friday) and out-of-hours by contacting NHS24 on 111.

The District Nursing service also supports individuals and carers in care centre setting as well as some resident at home.

Some practice nurses have joined the District Nursing service to help support the provision of a 24/7 shift-based nursing in the home setting service at this time.

Intermediate Care Team

The Intermediate Care Team is working as normal.

General Practice Nursing

A reduced Practice Nursing service is in place. Telephone triage and some appointments will be available at all practices but this will be more limited than normal. The Practice Nursing service will continue to provide:

  • Immunisations (childhood and adult)
  • Depot injections for mental health patients
  • Dressings
  • B12 injections
  • Prostap injection
  • Nebido
  • Decapeptyl injections
  • Warfarin monitoring
  • Lithium monitoring
  • DMARD monitoring
  • Biologics & pre-chemotherapy blood sampling (as requested)

Routine appointments, for example, Long Term Conditions Annual Reviews have all been postponed. Anyone with a long term condition who becomes unwell during this time should contact their health centre and appropriate arrangements will be made for their follow up.

The national cervical cytology programme is currently suspended and therefore no new smear tests will be carried out at this time.

If you are unsure as to whether your pre-booked appointment will still proceed please contact your health centre.

Travel Health Service

The Travel Health Assessment service is suspended. It is anticipated that the service will re-commence in August . For up-to-date information, please check the Travel Health section on the NHS Board website.

More information will be forthcoming should there be changes to the service.


Immunisations will continue during the Coronavirus outbreak. It's important that vaccines are given on time. Before attending an appointment, people should check they don’t have any symptoms of the Coronavirus. Stay updated:  and

Smoking Cessation with Health Improvement

Appointments available by telephone or video consultation - email Healthy Shetland or contact 01595 807494 and leave a message to refer yourself, or to refer a patient with their consent. Any medication to support a quit will be provided free through Pharmacy as usual, but they will not be able to offer behavioural support or consultations.


There are many restrictions currently applied in all of our lives, looking after our children’s oral health should not be one of them:

  • Reduce the frequency of sugary drinks and snacks and encourage healthy eating.
  • Brush teeth in the morning and last thing before bed at night. Young children up to the age of seven should still be given help and supervision with brushing their teeth effectively.

Childsmile activities might be currently suspended but support is still available from the NHS Shetland Childsmile Team.
Please phone 01595 743692 or 743661 if you require any advice regarding your children’s oral care.
**Free toothbrush and toothpaste packs can also be posted to families who qualify for the scheme**


Shetland Women's Aid

Shetland Women's Aid office is closed due to COVID-19.  We are still available via the following:



Telephone:                           (01595) 692070

Mobiles:                               07867 300 565 / 07810 796 556

Phone calls/texts will be answered as soon as possible – generally staff will be available 9-12 every weekday.               01744 743 200

Scottish Domestic Abuse & Forced Marriage Helpline 24 hour:   0800 027 1234

In an emergency please do not hesitate to call the Police on 999.


Mind Your Head

The Mind Your Head Team:
✅ are still here—we are open for business as usual
✅ provide support via telephone, emails, messaging, or website contact form requests (contact details at the end of this post). Please note that Market House is currently closed to the public until further notice.
✅ cannot offer face-to-face support at the moment, but hope that you won't hesitate to get in touch if you feel that you need help during a tough time, regardless of recent events
✅ continue to bring you informative and uplifting content on our social media channels

Oh, and one more thing, if you've been asked to stay at home and avoid other people, it might feel more difficult than usual to take care of your mental health and wellbeing. Please don't struggle alone, we are here to help. Pick up the phone and give us a ring/send us an email. You are valuable and your feelings matter to us! ⭐️

Be brave and kind,
The Mind Your Head Team

01595 745035


Shetland Rape Crisis

Shetland Rape Crisis are still available but working differently - see website for more details


Relationships Scotland - Shetland

Relationships Scotland - Shetland are still offering mediation, counselling and support to people using phone or Zoom.

We are conscious that relationships within the families who live together and those who don’t, couples and communities as a whole will be even more stressed during the current COVID 19 crisis.

We can be contacted on 01595 743859 where you can leave a message, email or pm on our Facebook page.


Children's OT (Occupational Therapy) Services 

The Children’s Occupational Therapy service has been suspended to support the NHS Shetland response to the COVID-19 pandemic by working in other areas.

In the meantime below is a link to resources which we have collated for families and children to support them during COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any URGENT enquiries please email Marc Beswick on or Charis Scott on Alternatively please contact the duty Occupational Therapist on 01595 744 319 or