Recruitment key to Dr Gray’s plans

Wednesday 26th June 2019

NHS Grampian has approved a plan to restore round-the-clock maternity and children’s services at Dr Gray’s hospital in Moray but is warning the new strategy will only succeed if it can attract enough new staff.

A new recruitment campaign is to be launched to ensure services can be restored safely.

Pam Gowans of NHS Grampian says the health board will “pull out all the stops in our efforts to attract additional people to Gray’s.”

Under the plan, a new 24/7 short stay children’s service will be introduced, with four additional paediatric consultants, and maternity services will be brought back.

The hospital had to suspend maternity services after ‘severe workforce challenges’ meant care could not be provided safely and expectant mothers had to be transferred 70 miles to Aberdeen.

Dr Gray’s position as an “essential” hospital for Moray was also recognised by the board

Ms Gowans said it would take some time to get a new staffing model right and thanked the public for their patience.

“Most people don’t realise how closely the services at Dr Gray’s are interlinked and there is no doubt the new 24/7 women and children’s service will place extra demands elsewhere in the hospital,” she explained.

“Our anaesthetic consultants, who play a vital role across the whole hospital, are likely going to require additional staff to help deliver round the clock emergency caesarean sections, for example.  Our Emergency Department Team is critical to the delivery of the children’s service.

“We continue to work on resolving the current staffing requirements alongside the shaping up of our wider multi-professional team including the Advanced Nurse Practitioners currently in training to improve the resilience of the hospital at night.

There are many components to bring together and we continue to work intensively on the workforce arrangements with an eye to the future.

“Those are risks our local staff have raised and clearly there would be no point in fixing one staffing issue to cause another elsewhere. We’ve always said that we will not compromise on patient safety and we remain firmly committed to that.

A consultation will be announced this week so locals can have their say on the children’s services plans.