Plan to ‘future-proof’ Dr Gray’s Hospital

Friday 2nd August 2019

A team of experts has been set up with the aim of making Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin the ‘benchmark for smaller hospitals’.

The transformation board, which include doctor, nurse, patient and ambulance representatives, will look at how to ‘future-proof’ services at the hospital.

Like other smaller hospitals across the UK, Dr Gray’s has struggled with staffing issues, such as a reliance on temporary staff and difficulties in junior doctor cover.

Last month a consultation was launched on plans to bring back a 24-hour children’s ward, after opening hours at the ward were restricted due to a lack of doctors and nurses.

The aim is for Dr Gray’s to function within a network of services in Grampian and the North of Scotland under the transformation plans, which were approved at an NHS Grampian board meeting.

Pam Gowans, executive lead for Dr Gray's and chief officer for Health & Social Care Moray, says the ambition is for it to become the benchmark for smaller hospitals.

She said: “Lessons have been learned from the staffing challenges we’ve faced over the last couple of years.

“We know we need to get on the front foot if we are avoid those difficulties in the future and, at their heart, that’s what these plans are about.”

She added members of the public would be represented on the transformation board as it was important the community is “involved right from the start”.

The Dr Gray’s transformation board is expected to meet at the end of August and will look to build stronger links within a network of hospitals across Grampian and Highland.

Dr Jamie Hogg, clinical director for Dr Gray’s Hospital, says one survey found around four in every five small hospitals faced “very similar issues to our own”, including difficulty in ensuring junior doctor cover and a heavy reliance on temporary locum staff.

He said: “It’s really clear that the traditional hospital model of completely separate, independent specialities working on their own is not going to be fit for the future of our hospital.

“Continuing to work in collaboration with our fantastic staff and with the addition of new professionals across the organisation, will help us future proof and maintain a safe and sustainable service for our patients here in Moray.”