Urgent improvements are required at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to protect patient care, a major report has found.
Concerns over leadership, governance, culture and inappropriate behaviour of some staff have been identified in an scathing independent review of the way the flagship hospital operates.
The report, published this morning, said shortfalls in these area “have the potential to have a more serious impact” if not urgently addressed by NHS Grampian.
Dr Angus Cameron, chairman of the review team at Healthcare Improvement Scotland and medical director at NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said the report would make “sobering reading”.
The review also includes an elderly care inspection at ARI and Woodend Hospital and this report is also published today.
Poor care and a lack of visible and effective leadership was found by inspectors.
However, patients were broadly found to be treated with dignity and respect.
The report was commissioned by the Scottish Government after a whistle-blower contacted former health secretary Alex Neil in the summer over concerns over staffing levels and perceived management failures.
Dr Cameron said: “This was a complex and thorough review. The team identified a range of concerns and areas for improvement including leadership, behaviours and governance.
“The issues are serious, and I recognise that the report will in many respects make sobering reading.
“Importantly, the report sets out a range of recommendations for the future. I am encouraged that NHS Grampian is already addressing the recommendations in this report.
“On behalf of the review team, I want to express our appreciation for the openness and honesty shown by all the staff and patients we spoke with over the course of the review.
“The review report which was published today is the result of an extensive investigation. The review team spoke with patients and carers, interviewed over 500 members of staff, examined national and local data, case records and the handling of complaints.”
Since the review was conducted, medical director Dr Roelf Dijkhuizen and chief executive Richard Carey have retired.
Mr Carey cited a breakdown in relationships between management and some senior clinical staff as part of his decision to leave.
A separate report by the Royal College of Surgeons into the general surgery department at ARI, which is to be made partly public today, will call for an urgent restructuring of the department given the failure of some clinical staff to work productively together.
Healthcare Improvement Scotland, with other key stakeholders, will support the development of NHS Grampian’s action plan to implement the recommendations set out in the report.