Eight-month waiting times could be slashed and an additional 15,000 potentially life-saving scans could be offered to NHS Grampian patients annually as part of a £55 million investment.
The health board for Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray has now completed its outline business case for its share of a £200m pot of Scottish Government capital funding set aside to improve elective care at five health boards across the country.
NHS Grampian has revealed the specialisms that chiefs feel could best use government cash to make the biggest difference to patients in the north-east.
Today, a report will go before a meeting of the health board highlighting the preferred £55.7m plan.
The health board intends to use the cash to create a “bespoke” new building at Foresterhill which will offer “one-stop” care for respiratory, dermatology and urology patients.
Elective care is a process designed to reduce pressures on medical staff and reduce lengthy treatment waiting times.
Outpatients at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary are currently waiting around 28 weeks for routine urology appointments.
Routine outpatient dermatology waiting periods are up to 32 weeks, the same length of time routine respiratory medicine patients can expect to wait.
Funding will also be used to pay for elective MRI and CT scanning services, with one MRI scanner located at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, and the other at Foresterhill.
It is hoped the investment will allow around 9,000 extra CT scans a year , and between 6,000 and 7,000 more MRI scans in Aberdeen and Elgin.
The NHS Grampian report said: “This investment will support the delivery of the sustainable service for a specific range of specialities – respiratory, dermatology and urology – and meet future expected demand for MRI and CT capacity.”
Included in the proposals are a dedicated day surgery and endoscopy unit to address the “growing number of referrals” for endoscopy, general surgery and more.
NHS Grampian expects the dedicated day unit will allow 1,000 patients who would currently need to be seen in an inpatient setting to instead attend for day surgery.
Under the plans, respiratory, dermatology and urology services will be redesigned to focus on “admission avoidance”, and where possible offer a “one stop” model of care.
The report added: “For example in urology, around 70% of patients will be seen at a one-stop clinic, 20% of these patients may require a follow-up.
“This will reduce the need for return appointments, allowing more new patients to be seen.”
If the outline business case is approved by the health board today, preparation will commence on a full business case (FBC), which if all goes to plan should go before a future NHS Grampian board meeting in April next year.
And if the project proceeds on schedule, construction could start by as early as July 2020 – with patients able to access the new services by March 2022.