Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News



Richard Lochhead MSP has written to the Chief Executive of NHS Grampian, Caroline Hiscox, seeking further clarification around the reduction in bed numbers at Dr Gray’s Hospital as part of the health board’s covid plan, and also an assurance that it will only be a temporary measure. 

Commenting, Moray’s SNP MSP said:

“It is understandable that the NHS has had to make our hospital wards Covid safe to protect patients and staff and that this has led to some necessary changes.

“I have been told by NHS Grampian that as a result of Covid planning there has been a 17% reduction in bed spaces that equates to a reduction of 32 bed and chair or trolley spaces.

“I feel very strongly that the local community in Moray must be reassured that this is only temporary and that bed numbers will be restored back to previous levels as soon as it is safe to do so. Indeed, in the medium term we should looking to increase bed capacity a Dr Gray’s not reductions.

“More importantly, NHS Grampian must clearly explain to the public how with winter approaching, which normally leads to an increase in hospital admissions, Dr Gray’s will be able to cope with higher demand at a time of less beds available.

“It is also important to know whether an increase in transfers to Aberdeen is expected because surely ARI will be under just as much if not more pressure than Dr Gray’s. Also, to what extent has Moray’s older population been factored in in terms of bed capacity decisions and predicted patient numbers.

“I appreciate that local NHS bosses are looking to a home first policy but with winter and Covid pressures coinciding, further reassurances about how advanced these plans are would be really helpful.

“The global pandemic is a huge challenge for the NHS but we must make every effort to strike a balance in terms of health harms and as Government Ministers have said we need to ensure that by addressing one pressure the authorities don’t inadvertently cause other health harms. I appreciate that this is a difficult balance to achieve and our NHS staff are doing a wonderful job looking after us at this time and hopefully NHS management will be able to provide further clarity on these matters.”