EMER­GENCY OPS AT PRI STOPPED IN STAFF CRI­SIS Surgery pulled de­spite on-go­ing con­sul­ta­tion

Perthshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Clark

Perth Royal In­fir­mary Emer­gency op­er­a­tions have been tem­po­rar­ily stopped at Perth Royal In­fir­mary as a re­sult of a staff short­age.

Health bosses this week con­firmed the cru­cial pro­ce­dures were moved to Ninewells Hos­pi­tal in Dundee from Mon­day.

The “in­terim di­vert” comes dur­ing a on­go­ing pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion which runs un­til Oc­to­ber 3 and is propos­ing to move all emer­gency surgery across Tay­side to Ninewells per­ma­nently.

Pro­fes­sor Peter Stone­bridge, NHS Tay­side’s as­so­ciate med­i­cal di­rec­tor for surgery, said: “NHS Tay­side would like to re­as­sure com­mu­ni­ties in Perth and Kin­ross that we are ab­so­lutely com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide a wide range of ser­vices at Perth Royal In­fir­mary.

“The hos­pi­tal is a vi­tal site for NHS Tay­side and our pro­pos­als for the fu­ture of sur­gi­cal ser­vices in Tay­side, which are cur­rently be­ing pub­licly con­sulted on, show that our doc­tors and sur­geons ac­tu­ally want to carry out more surgery at PRI.

“How­ever, like all health boards across Scot­land, NHS Tay­side is fac­ing chal­lenges pre­sented by na­tional short­ages of staff and, un­for­tu­nately this

is be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced at PRI cur­rently.

“There­fore to en­sure we can con­tinue to pro­vide a safe and ap­pro­pri­ate level of care for our pa­tients, we have made the de­ci­sion to move to an in­terim di­vert of all un­sched­uled surgery to Ninewells Hos­pi­tal seven days a week from Mon­day, Au­gust 21.

“This di­vert has been in place at the week­end at PRI for the past four years, and ac­tu­ally has had to be in place for around 40% of the time since Jan­uary on an in­ter­mit­tent and un­pre­dictable ba­sis.”

Prof Stone­bridge de­fended the health board’s de­ci­sion to halt emer­gency surgery at PRI in the mid­dle of the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

He con­tin­ued:“The in­terim mea­sure, which af­fects only un­sched­uled gen­eral surgery pa­tients, will there­fore of­fer greater sta­bil­ity at PRI.

“It also al­lows us to use the staffing re­source that we have in a more ef­fec­tive way. The di­vert does not af­fect those pa­tients who are com­ing in for elec­tive (planned) surgery.

“Pa­tient safety is al­ways our top pri­or­ity and we re­main com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that pa­tients can ac­cess the best treat­ment in the most ap­pro­pri­ate place.”

NHS Tay­side did not con­firm how long the“in­terim”pe­riod would be.

A health board spokesper­son con­tin­ued:“These in­terim ar­range­ments do not im­pact on the on­go­ing Shap­ing Sur­gi­cal Ser­vices Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gramme, which is cur­rently con­sult­ing with pa­tients and com­mu­ni­ties.

“We would en­cour­age all ser­vice users, car­ers, staff, in­ter­ested stake­hold­ers and mem­bers of the pub­lic to get in­volved in the con­sul­ta­tion pro­gramme which will con­tinue un­til Oc­to­ber 3.”

Alexan­der Stew­art, MSP for MidS­cot­land and Fife, says this news shows “dark clouds”are still over PRI.

He told the PA:“The lat­est rev­e­la­tion of the de­ci­sion to di­vert all un­sched­uled gen­eral surgery to Ninewells Hos­pi­tal seven days a week de­spite the cur­rently on-go­ing Shap­ing Sur­gi­cal Ser­vices Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gramme Con­sul­ta­tion — which is not due for con­clu­sion un­til Oc­to­ber 3 — speaks vol­umes as far as the PRI’s con­tin­u­ing woes are con­cerned.

“Again, the ur­gent work­force chal­lenges fac­ing Scot­land’s NHS, which in­deed the SNP gov­ern­ment has failed to plan for in the long-term, tell us all we need to know that they clearly re­alise the writ­ing is very much on the wall.

“This sit­u­a­tion adds to the cat­a­logue of can­celled op­er­a­tions, staff cri­sis sit­u­a­tions, bed-block­ing and a loss of con­fi­dence in the health board’s abil­i­ties to run ser­vices in the area, which are what the pub­lic are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing on a day-to-day ba­sis.

“I con­tinue to stand by my pre­vi­ous state­ments that dark clouds are hov­er­ing over Perth Royal In­fir­mary.”

‘Dark clouds’

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