A WOMAN who had her leg amputated has been stuck in hospital for nearly three months due to a carers crisis.
Debbie Michie, 61, is able to go home but hospital bosses will not let her leave because they cannot arrange the care she needs due to a shortage of staff.
NHS Highland said the situation was "upsetting to all concerned" but warned they cannot fix the carers drought on their own and that the crisis was likely to get worse.
Mrs Michie, of Nethy Bridge, had her leg amputated in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, last September before being transferred to the Ian Charles Hospital in Grantown-on-Spey.
She was kept in due to complications but is now healed and has been ready to return home for months.
But she is trapped in hospital until the health board can arrange four visits a day from specialist helpers.
Mrs Michie said: "I've wanted to come home for 10 weeks but they can't get the carers. The staff at Grantown are just as frustrated as I am. They have been brilliant. I've been told it's not a funding problem, it's a lack of carers."
Her husband Iain is also becoming more frustrated by the situation. The painter and decorator, 63, said: "The service needs more staff and better rates of pay."
Jean-Pierre Sieczkarek, NHS Highland area manager for Badenoch and Strathspey, said: "People being delayed in hospital is in nobody's interest and upsetting to all concerned.
"This is not about money or poor planning, but a lack of people who want to do care at home work.
"NHS Highland has been taking steps to try to improve the immediate situation, but we have not been able to create enough capacity."