MORAY children who need to stay in hospital overnight will have to go to Aberdeen or Inverness.
From next Friday ward 2 at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, will only cater for day patients.
It is believed doctors have been taken from paediatrics to cover staff shortages in the maternity unit at Moray’s flagship hospital.
A Dr Gray’s insider said: "Staff were told today that the children’s ward will be closing as a 24 hour ward from next Friday.
"It means children will have to go to either Raigmore or Aberdeen if they need an overnight stay.
"They’re saying it’s temporary for the moment, but it’s going to put pressure on the ambulance service and accident and emergency.
"We were told to keep our mouths shut, but this is happening so fast and people deserve to know."
Gary Mortimer, Director of Acute Services for NHS Grampian, said changes would take effect from August 18.
He added: " We continue to work closely with partners including the Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS Highland, Health and Social Care Partnerships and elected members to manage the interim change."
Mr Mortimer added: "As we have said throughout this process, these interim measures have been prompted by recruitment difficulties and are not based on financial considerations.
"The financial resources are there to recruit staff if we are able to identify suitable candidates.
"More generally, I would like to reassure people that we remain committed to continued investment in local services across Moray."