PLANS TO RESTORE an Eye Clinic do Dr Gray’s Hospital and save patients from having to make the long journey to Aberdeen have been welcomed.
However, Moray MSP Richard Lochhead has said he is aware that patients are looking for more clarity over NHS Grampian’s actual plans for greater delivery of local services.
Mr Lochhead will once again meet the Chief Executive of NHS Grampian in Elgin on Monday, when they will discuss health services in general and specifically the restoration of an Eye Clinic at Dr Gray’s Hospital.
The MSP said he has been contacted by several constituents who have to regularly make the journey to Aberdeen to see an ophthalmic consultant. The Chief Executive of NHS Grampian, Malcolm Wright, had already offered assurances that the health board were working hard to recruit a consultant.
In a recent letter Mr Wright stated that he was confident a consultant would be appointed “in the near future” – meaning clinics would again be available in Moray.
Mr Lochhead said: “For some months now patients in Moray have been having to travel to Aberdeen for eye clinic appointments, which I know has been very challenging for many of my constituents.
“I’m aware that the lack of a consultant in Elgin has caused real problems for some elderly patients who have found the long journey very difficult. The recent assurances offered by the Chief Executive of NHS Grampian that an eye clinic will return to Dr Gray’s are very welcome but I know that patients are looking for more clarity about the health board’s plans.
“Whilst I do appreciate that the challenge with the provision at Dr Gray’s is often the difficulty in recruiting staff to key posts, I will be pressing him for details as to how soon we can expect to see eye clinics reinstated locally.
“The delivery of local NHS services is something that is very important to me and I know that people across Moray greatly value Dr Gray’s and want to see it used to its maximum capacity. I’m looking forward to meeting the Chief Executive to get an update on the clinics and services provided locally.”
Meanwhile, Douglas Ross MSP will also meet with the Chief Executive in Elgin on Monday, taking advantage of an offer from Mr Wright to brief MPs and MSPs on NHS Grampian progress.
Mr Ross said that he intends to discuss a wide range of issues including the growing concerns over staffing levels at Dr Gray’s and treatment of cancer patients in Moray.
He said: “I am grateful to NHS Grampian for convening this meeting in Elgin and for the opportunity to sit down in Moray and discuss the many issues of concern which are brought to my attention on an almost daily basis.
“I am in contact with NHS Grampian and the Chief Executive regularly to discuss the many queries and issues which are raised with me about the NHS locally but the opportunity to discuss these face to face in Elgin will be beneficial.
“A growing concern for all in Moray is the staffing levels at Dr Gray’s Hospital and the number of patients who are having to make lengthy journeys to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, taking up perhaps a whole day, to attend clinic appointments which often only last for a few minutes.
“Others have been waiting a significant period of time to receive treatment due to the lack of medical staff locally and I am sure we will have a full discussion on this. I’ve also asked for an update on treatment for cancer patients locally after a number of concerns had been highlighted with me.
“Combined with the problems over the falling number of GP’s in Moray, I very much look forward to raising all of these matters at the meeting and seeking assurances of NHS Grampian’s commitment to the continued provision of the first class medical treatment expected by Moray residents.”