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REASSURANCES FROM NHS GRAMPIAN have been made that the closure of the Children’s ward at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin on a single night in December was a one-off.
In a letter to Moray’s MP Douglas Ross, NHS Grampian Divisional General Manager Sue Swift said that she fully appreciated the inconvenience and stress the closure on December 12 will have caused.
She added that it came because of temporary staff issues – but gave an assurance that there were no gaps in the nursing rota “for the foreseeable future”.
Commenting on the issue, Douglas Ross said: “I was extremely worried when I heard that staff shortages due to sickness had forced closure of the ward, especially coming so soon after a period of prolonged closure, due to a lack of junior doctors which we were told had been resolved.”
He continued: “I wrote immediately to the Chief Executive of NHS Grampian to ask why this had happened and asked for reassurances that everything was being done to ensure the facility was fully staffed.
“I have now received a letter from the Divisional General Manager of Children’s Services, explaining that all avenues were exhausted on the night trying to provide staff for the ward and fill the gap in provision, but that this could not be done – and the only option was closure.
“Although no children had to be transferred to Aberdeen on that occasion, everything must be done to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.
“The children’s ward is a vital facility, and youngsters having to travel 70 miles to Aberdeen for treatment, particularly during the winter months, is just not acceptable and poses a serious risk.”