Assurances that key Moray wards would remain full-time – for now

THE CHILDREN’S WARD at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin will continue on a full-time basis beyond February – as will the maternity ward.

Plans being put in place by NHS Grampian to ensure both wards remain in full-time operation will be welcomed as both have be threatened due to staff closures in recent months.

The assurance from NHS Grampian came in discussions with Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead, who has been in “constant contact” with the NHS Grampian CE Malcolm Wright.

The MSP said: “I’m really pleased that NHS Grampian has successfully managed to put plans in place to maintain round the clock inpatient services for women and children at Dr Gray’s after February – and I know this news will be warmly welcomed by patients and the whole community.

“The recurring challenge the hospital has faced in trying to recruit enough trainee doctors to fill staff rotas at a safe level has been tough but I know that NHS management have worked tirelessly to put plans in place to safeguard the service in the short term, as well as looking for longer term solutions.

“I recognise that the situation at Dr Gray’s remains fragile and it is vital that we get long term solutions in place to ensure that patients can continue to receive the best care close to home and this is something I am committed to working with the health board on this going forward.”

However, there remained a warning that staffing levels at Dr Gray’s could again cause problems in the future.  Sue Swift, general manager for women and children at NHS Grampian, said: “We felt it was important that we kept the public as informed as possible, which is why we highlighted last month that there was a potential shortfall in staffing.

“By securing trainee doctors and through the flexibility of current staff, we have managed to alleviate the issue we potentially faced next month.  However, there remains a distinct possibility that we will face similar challenges in the future.”