Maternity beds will be given over to other uses and a day-case unit will be modified in an attempt to ease pressures at Dr Gray’s Hospital.
The Elgin unit, like the rest of the NHS, has been faced a reduction in capacity and staff shortages as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, personnel self-isolating in Moray comes on top of long-term recruitment issues in the region.
Concerns about legionella detected during refurbishment work has also reduced the capacity further with 24 beds having to remain unoccupied until at least December.
NHS Grampian has now made temporary changes at Dr Gray’s amid an increase in the number of people also attending A&E for cases that could be handled at GPs, pharmacies or opticians.
What are the changes at Dr Gray’s?
To create extra space for patients, bays will be separated within the maternity ward for other treatments.
However, NHS Grampian has stressed parents and babies will still have the privacy and security that has been commonplace in the unit.
Meanwhile, officials also say there will be no further reduction in the maternity service, which has already been temporarily downgraded due to staff shortages.
It is hoped the changes will allow more care to be delivered locally and reduce the need for hospital transfers.
The day-case unit will also be “repurposed” for the most urgent elective procedures to be done.
What will be the impact of the changes?
NHS Grampian has warned the changes at the day-unit will mean a “small number” of routine procedures will be postponed.
Services expected to be affected by the changes at Dr Gray’s include orthopaedics, general surgery and gynaecology.
Samantha Thomas, chief nurse for Moray, said: “We know many people in Moray have been waiting a long time for their procedures.
“This situation is reflected right across the country. These decisions don’t sit easily with us. It is our duty to serve the needs of all of our local population and make sure those with the greatest needs are seen first.”
Professor Duff Bruce, surgical lead at Dr Gray’s, said: “We have a unique hospital in Dr Gray’s and in challenging times like these we must be flexible across our health and care systems in order to maintain services.
“We are sorry to find ourselves in this position where we are postponing some surgeries. Our consultants are working closely to ensure that we are operating on the most clinically urgent patents regardless of specialty.
“All postponed patients will be offered alternative options for their procedures alongside other Grampian patients to ensure that they are not further disadvantaged.”
NHS Grampian says those due to have day surgeries will be contacted by the clinical team in the coming days.