Ten years on Moray Hospital could be set for clearance

Spynie accommodation does not meet Health and Safety regulations.
Spynie accommodation does not meet Health and Safety regulations.

THE SITE OF a former Moray hospital may soon be cleared – ten years after it ceased to be used for medical purposes.

A paper being put before the Moray Integration Joint Board this week will propose that administration staff still based at the site of the former Spynie Hospital be moved to a new purpose-built centre – with much of the costs being met by NHS Grampian.

According to the report, authored by project officer Rosemary Reeve, business manager George McLean and chief officer Pam Gowans, the existing office accommodation being used on the site was not compliant with required Health and Safety at Work legislation.

It points out: “NHS Grampian has had the site at Spynie Hospital in Elgin earmarked for disposal for many years, following the closure of the last inpatient beds on Spynie site in 2006.

“The position to move to disposal has been hampered by the difficulties of finding suitable alternative accommodation for the management and community staff based there, as well as considering the future of Mortuary provision in Moray.

“Spynie mortuary provides a service to the police locally and as a back up to the mortuary provision at Dr Gray’s hospital.”

insideMoray understands that the mortuary provision provided at Spynie has already been withdrawn with Dr Gray’s being used exclusively.

The site is reported to have a backlog of maintenance costs that have increased to over £4million, with the accommodation being used having deteriorated and being subjected to break-ins and vandalism in recent months.

Offering a suggestion that a temporary three-year lease be sought on a new property to accommodate staff, the report says: “Dialogue with Council partners confirmed that, short to medium term, capacity would not be available to accommodate the required number of staff within the existing configuration of office accommodation operated by the Council.

“The Council have however agreed to revisit this position as part of a future broader joint estate review. For this reason, it was agreed that the most appropriate way forward would be to secure additional accommodation for a three-year period as a transitional arrangement pending final agreement between partners on a feasible long term solution.

“Recent negotiations with a local property developer have now concluded with agreement on heads of terms, at an acceptable market rate, to lease new purpose built accommodation for an initial period of three years. It is estimated that this accommodation will be fully fitted and available for occupation six to eight weeks following approval to proceed.”

In recommending that option the report concludes: “In addition to ensuring compliance with the Health and Safety Legislation delivering the preferred option will ensure that our staff enjoy a safe and secure environment where they feel valued and this will also bring benefits from improved morale, reduced absence and improved recruitment and retention prospects.”