Consultation on Dr Gray’s plans

Tuesday 2nd July 2019

Moray and Banffshire locals are being encouraged to give their views on NHS Grampian’s plans to bring back a 24-hour children’s ward at Dr Gray’s hospital.

Residents have three months to respond to the health board’s consultation.

Opening hours at the ward were restricted after the hospital was unable to attract enough doctors and nurses.

Currently children who need overnight care are transferred to Aberdeen.

Pam Gowans of NHS Grampian said: “Over the last few months specialist staff from the service, along with colleagues across the hospital and public representatives, have been working on a long-term solution.

“The model they have developed would see 24/7 opening return on the Children’s Ward which we are keen to see. It would also significantly reduce the number of children transferred to Aberdeen by around 110 a year when compared with the temporary model we have in place at the moment. 

“We need to be clear though, the most unwell children in Moray have always had to be treated in specialist units elsewhere and that would still be the case."

She added:“This proposed model has been broadly welcomed so far but we are now seeking wider views and opinions to make sure it is right for people across Moray.”

Under the proposed model children with most routine conditions and minor injuries will be treated at Dr Gray’s hospital, where they can stay on the ward for up to 24 hours.

Simpler surgical procedures that can be done without admitting patients overnight will be carried out at the Elgin hospital.

Recruitment challenges are the biggest barrier to the new proposed model, which also includes plans to expand maternity services at the hospital, Grampian health board said last week.

Ms Gowans said the board was committing to overcoming this and is bringing in a multi-disciplinary team model to ease pressure on consultants.

She said: “Moray needs a dedicated, reliable children’s ward and NHS Grampian is committed to investing in it so that it is safe and sustainable over the long term.

“The proposed model will be backed up by multi-disciplinary workforce that is less reliant one profession in order to help prevent the type of staffing issues we’ve seen over the last two years.

“That team will include some of our new advanced nurse practitioners who are due to complete their training in November as well as our redeveloped hospital at night team and the four extra paediatric consultants we are actively recruiting at the moment."

Full plans are now available for the public to examine and the health board is planning public meetings over the next three months.

The consultation will run until 27th September 2019 and interested parties can respond online.