The needs of patients and health workers in Moray must not be overshadowed by the high-profile difficulties facing NHS Grampian’s main hospital in Aberdeen.
That was the call from Richard Lochhead MSP as he held talks with the Scottish Government’s new health secretary Shona Robison.
Mr Lochhead said it was essential that services at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin and elsewhere in Moray remain a priority as north-east health chiefs act on the challenges at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
He was speaking following the publication of a damning report by Healthcare Improvement Scotland last month, which warned patient care and safety at the region’s biggest hospital could be compromised by issues including weak leadership, low morale and poor relations between consultants and executives.
The health board has also been rocked by the shock departure of its chairman and chief executive, as well as a series of senior consultants, as the crisis at ARI deepens.
Mr Lochhead said services in Moray deserved greater recognition from NHS Grampian managers, and urged them to take steps to fill key posts at Dr Gray’s and in the community as soon as possible.
“Dr Gray’s delivers excellent healthcare for 95,000 people in Moray and the wider region, and I want to ensure it has the support it needs to keep doing that,” he said.
“My meeting with the Health Secretary and her senior officials was very helpful, and I hopefully managed to convey the need for NHS Grampian, with Scottish Government support, to ensure that issues facing Dr Gray’s are prioritised by the new management regime in NHS Grampian.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Health Secretary met with Richard Lochhead MSP to discuss Dr Gray’s Hospital. This was a positive meeting, and the Cabinet Secretary was clear in her view that Dr Gray’s plays a key role in the overall provision of services in the north east.
“Ms Robison agreed to ensure the new NHS Grampian leadership gives appropriate priority to the challenges facing Dr Gray’s and she was clear that it is essential the same high standard of services are available to patients in the Moray area. The Health Secretary is also hoping to visit the hospital in the near future.”
An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “We are aware that Aberdeen Royal Infirmary has been the focus of recent reporting around NHS Grampian. We would reassure everyone in the north-east that we are responsible for health care across the region and that has not changed.”