Patients in the north-east will be sent to an Angus hospital in a bid to cut down waiting times.
With an increasing demand for complex surgery at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) and Dr Gray’s Hospitals, health chiefs have decided to utilise additional capacity at Stracathro Hospital.
Paul Bachoo, medical director for acute services at NHS Grampian, said: “Previously patients have been offered elective surgeries at Stracathro as an option to be seen more quickly.
“We are now building on this established positive relationship with the hospital and its staff by further utilising the link we have and ensure more patients benefit as a result.
“Where it is clinically appropriate, patients will now be routinely given appointments at Stracathro and offered free return transport, in the form of a bus from ARI, on the day of their procedure.
“They are not obliged to use the transport and can make their own arrangements if they wish.
“Feedback from Grampian patients who have had their procedures carried out at Stracathro is very positive.”
NHS Grampian patients are already treated at the facility, mainly as day cases with some overnight stays, but that figure is expected to rise under the new arrangements.
Mr Bachoo added: “The move means patients are far less likely to experience postponements to their procedures as emergency cases, which can disrupt surgery timetables, are not dealt with at Stracathro.”
The free transport service to Stracathro Hospital will run several times daily on weekdays from ARI from September 30.
Earlier this summer, NHS Grampian announced that waiting times would be vastly improved.