Staff short­ages lead to fall in op­er­a­tions

Aver­age weekly the­atre avail­abil­ity down at ARI

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMES WYL­LIE

Staff short­ages at NHS Grampian have seen some hos­pi­tals’ abil­ity to per­form op­er­a­tions slashed by al­most one-third in just two years.

Ev­ery hos­pi­tal in the re­gion has ex­pe­ri­enced a drop in the avail­abil­ity of the­atres and a sub­se­quent re­duc­tion in the num­ber of op­er­a­tions per­formed since 2015.

While there were min­i­mal drops at Dr Gray’s in El­gin and Royal Aberdeen Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal be­tween 2015-16 and 2017-18, there were larger de­creases else­where.

At ARI, the aver­age weekly the­atre avail­abil­ity dropped from 790.85 hours to 715.59 – down 10%.

Mean­while there was a fall of 29%, to 131.65 hours, at Wood­end Hos­pi­tal over the same pe­riod.

North East Labour MSP Lewis Mac­don­ald has slammed the fig­ures, say­ing they demon­strate the “real cost of un­der-staffing and un­der-fund­ing”.

But he ac­knowl­edged some of the bur­den could be lifted by the in­tro­duc­tion of a ma­jor trauma cen­tre in the city this au­tumn.

He said: “It is not just that op­er­a­tions at ARI and Wood­end are be­ing de­layed. There are fewer

“There are fewer op­er­a­tions over all year on year”

op­er­a­tions over­all year on year.

“Th­ese fig­ures show how much peo­ple in Grampian are af­fected by un­der­staffing and un­der-fund­ing.

“Launch­ing the ma­jor trauma cen­tre at Forester­hill this Oc­to­ber can help ad­dress the re­cruit­ment chal­lenge, and it is es­sen­tial there is no de­lay.”

Alexan­der Bur­nett, Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive MSP for Aberdeen­shire West, has called for gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion to help NHS Grampian over­come its staffing short­fall.

He said: “It is the peo­ple of the north-east who are suf­fer­ing – with in­creased de­lays and can­cel­la­tions of planned surgery – and it is not good enough.”

An NHS Grampian spokes­woman said: “The pub­lic will be aware of the chal­lenges we have faced around the­atre staffing over the last 18 months.

“Safety in our the­atres is para­mount and th­ese is­sues mean we can only carry out pro­ce­dures when and where we have ap­pro­pri­ate staffing.

“This has led to fewer pro­ce­dures tak­ing place.”

She added that the health board’s work to tackle its short­age of em­ploy­ees was on­go­ing.

“We are also look­ing at train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for our ex­ist­ing the­atre staff to en­sure we have a work­force with the right mix of skills.”

Health Sec­re­tary Shona Ro­bi­son said progress was be­ing made to ad­dress staffing is­sues.

She said: “NHS Grampian’s work­force has in­creased by over 7% un­der this gov­ern­ment to his­tor­i­cally high lev­els, in­clud­ing over 42% more con­sul­tants and over 12% more al­lied health pro­fes­sion­als.

“I am pleased that im­ple­men­ta­tion to es­tab­lish the Scot­tish Trauma Net­work is un­der way and there has al­ready been progress over the past year, with ma­jor trauma cen­tres in the north and east to be in place in the au­tumn.

“To help meet the de­mands the NHS faces, we are putting record in­vest­ment into our health ser­vice and leg­is­lat­ing to en­sure we have the right staff with the right skills in the right place.”

CON­CERN: MSP Lewis Mac­don­ald slammed hos­pi­tal op­er­a­tions fig­ures

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