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