NHS Grampian has made “considerable progress” since three damming reports were issued at the end of last year, a meeting of the board heard yesterday.
The troubled health authority was slated in two studies by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and another from the Royal College of Surgeons in England (RCSE) in December.
A report to the NHS Grampian board yesterday said progress had been made towards achieving the watchdogs’ recommendations in the intervening six months.
It said there was now “safe and appropriate staffing cover” and that chiefs were “progressing towards stronger working relationships between management and clinical staff”.
One of the HIS reports related to quality and safety at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, while the other contained the findings of an unannounced inspection of care for the elderly at ARI and at Woodend Hospital. The RCSE was critical of the general surgery service.
Staff were reported to have “little confidence” in senior management in the reports and the board suffered from “considerable staffing difficulties”.
HIS said the board was “insufficiently aware” of several of the problems facing the hospital, specifically in relation to the emergency department which was said to be in a “developing crisis”.
It praised the actions of “talented and dedicated” frontline staff, but also spoke of low morale in a number of departments, the “unprofessional behaviour” of some medical staff and “very poor relations” between some senior medical staff and managers.
The final recommendations from the reports are due to be completed by December this year.
Speaking yesterday, NHS Grampian chief executive Malcolm Wright said: “We are pleased that considerable progress has been made over the last six months and that these efforts have been recognised by the Scottish Government as well as by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
“I am grateful to the patients, staff and public who have worked closely with us to make that progress possible. I also want to reassure them that this is a long-term strategy and that we are fully committed to placing caring, listening and improving at the heart of everything we do.”
Dr Jamie Weir, chairman of patient’s body Pact, said: “It’s clear that they’re trying to improve and this can only be good.”