Chil­dren’s ward gets two new doc­tors

Chil­dren’ s overnight ser­vice re­sumes but fu­ture still un­cer­tain

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID MACKAY

Overnight ad­mis­sions will re­turn to the chil­dren’s ward at Dr Gray’s Hospi­tal from next week fol­low­ing the re­cruit­ment of two new doc­tors. NHS Grampian has warned a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion could af­fect ser­vices next year. Chil­dren re­quir­ing overnight care have been treated in Aberdeen or In­ver­ness.

Overnight ad­mis­sions will re­turn to the chil­dren’s ward at Dr Gray’s Hospi­tal from next week fol­low­ing the re­cruit­ment of two new doc­tors.

How­ever, NHS Grampian has warned a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion could af­fect ser­vices again next year.

For nearly two months chil­dren re­quir­ing overnight care have had to travel to Aberdeen or In­ver­ness.

Tem­po­rary pro­vi­sions were put in place by the NHS be­fore they were with­drawn be­cause they were deemed un­work­able.

Yes­ter­day the health author­ity con­firmed 24-hour op­er­a­tions will re­turn to Ward Two from Mon­day.

Dr Jamie Hogg, divi­sional clin­i­cal di­rec­tor, said: “Ob­vi­ously this good news will be wel­comed across Mo­ray but we need to be clear that the work­force con­straints re­main a con­cern.

“Peo­ple should be aware that we could face a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion in pae­di­atric, ob­stet­rics and gy­nae­col­ogy ser­vices at the next trainee doc­tor in­take in Fe­bru­ary. We’re con­tin­u­ing to work on so­lu­tions to mit­i­gate this is­sue.

“There are how­ever ad­di­tional work­force chal­lenges ahead at the hospi­tal. We’re cur­rently work­ing to re­in­force con­sul­tant staff num­bers across the women and chil­dren’s ser­vice lo­cally.”

Fears about the fu­ture of ser­vices in Mo­ray at­tracted wide­spread con­cern.

There were calls for pub­lic agen­cies to work to­gether on re­cruit­ment is­sues – a song was even penned by reg­u­lar pa­tient Lucy Stewart, seven, to en­cour­age doc­tors to move to Mo­ray.

Dr Hogg added: “The way peo­ple ral­lied around to do what­ever they could to help peo­ple to come and work in our area is tes­ta­ment to the com­mu­nity spirit we have here.”

The health of­fi­cial stressed there would be “no let up” in the NHS’s Mo­ray re­cruit­ment drive but warned they would not be able to do it alone.

Staff have been work­ing with the coun­cil and elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to pro­mote the ben­e­fits of liv­ing and work­ing in the re­gion.

Mo­ray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “Clearly the sit­u­a­tion is still frag­ile with the health board hav­ing had long­stand­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in re­cruit­ing staff. I’m con­tin­u­ing to work with pub­lic agen­cies to pur­sue so­lu­tions to th­ese re­cruit­ment chal­lenges which are not go­ing away fast.”

Mo­ray MP Dou­glas Ross added: “Dr Gray’s is a valu­able and much-needed fa­cil­ity for the whole area which must not con­tin­u­ally be put un­der threat be­cause of a prob­lem in at­tract­ing staff.”

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