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Surprise at failure to mention NHS Grampian crisis in NHS annual report

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North-east politicians have expressed astonishment that the annual report from the head of the Scottish NHS makes no reference to the crisis at Grampian Health Board.

NHS chief executive Paul Gray spoke of “significant achievement” in the last year as well as the challenges facing the health service.

But the events that lead to the early resignation of NHS Grampian chairman Bill Howatson and the early retirement of chief executive Richard Carey at the end of this month failed to get a mention.

There was also no reference to the problem recruiting specialists facing NHS Grampian and other boards, as well as the shortage of GPs in remote areas.

North-east Labour MSP Richard Baker said: “Given the serious nature of the problems NHS Grampian has faced over the past year, including the recruitment crisis and resignation of key officials, I find it extremely surprising this is not mentioned in the NHS annual report.”

NHS Grampian board member Barney Crockett said senior policy makers in Edinburgh had a tendency to overlook the area because “they just don’t understand it”.

“The do not dare look a the realities of the city because they are not really dealing with them,” he said.

North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “It is remarkable that there is no mention of the current problems at NHS Grampian in this report, given that those at the highest levels of NHS Scotland must have been aware of them.

“This report does not appear to reflect the crisis in NHS Grampian which saw the departure in quick succession of the medical director, chair of the board, chief executive and of course Scottish Government Health Secretary Alex Neil.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the situation in Grampian was not mentioned as the report covered the 2013-14 financial year up until the end of March.

However, as the report was published Mr Gray commented on the inquiry findings into the Vale of Leven superbug outbreak published last month.

His review also mentioned events and figures for periods after March, for example MRSA cases for April-June 2014, and access to child and adolescent mental health services for the quarter ending in September 2014.

The spokeswoman said: “This government has repeatedly stated our commitment to addressing the issues in NHS Grampian and we are closely monitoring their performance and ensuring comprehensive action is being taken.”

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