A support group for those living with chronic pain has called for a meeting with NHS bosses to ensure plans to return a crucial clinic to Moray this year are still on track.
Chris Bridgeford, founder of The Affa Sair group, said the meeting was required to discuss the future of pain management services in the area.
A decision has been taken to reopen a pain management clinic at Dr Gray’s in Elgin, which closed in 2011.
The re-opening was announced following talks with Moray MSP Richard Lochhead, NHS Grampian chief executive Malcolm Wright and board chairman Professor Stephen Logan in March.
It was hoped the clinic will be dealing with referred patients by December but a specialist consultant still needs to be found.
An NHS spokeswoman said: “We hope to reinstate a pain clinic at Dr Gray’s hospital by the end of this year.
“This is dependent on recruitment to the consultant vacancy which we are very hopeful to appoint with an eligible local candidate able to apply.
“We are in discussion with the local Elgin service to ensure the necessary support is in place to enable the reinstatement of the service.
“In the meantime, all pain management appointments will continue at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. We are grateful for local patients ongoing patience and understanding.”
Mr Bridgeford said: “The Health Board’s comment that the reinstatement of a pain clinic in Dr Gray’s by the end of this year ‘is dependent on recruitment to the consultant vacancy which we are very hopeful to appoint with an eligible local candidate able to apply’ does little to convince anyone that the appointment will actually happen.
“They have, after all, apparently been trying to fill the vacancy since 2011. This meeting would enable all parties to start the discussion on such an important issue.”
Mr Lochhead said he has written to NHS bosses offering to chair a meeting with them, Dr Gray’s management and the Affa Sair group.