Covid-19 third wave impacts health services in Grampian

With cases of Covid-19 continuing to climb across the north-east of Scotland, pressure is mounting on health & social care services throughout the region.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 9:53 am
Covid cases are continuing to climb across the north-east of Scotland

There has been a steady increase in the number of people with the virus requiring hospital care. In addition, the growing number of cases – and contacts – means there is an increasing number of staff absences, due to self-isolation.

This, coupled with planned leave over the school holidays and higher than normal rates of non-COVID activity for the time of year, is regrettably leading to the postponement of non-urgent procedures.

Professor Nick Fluck, Medical Director said: “This is a dynamic situation, subject to change throughout each day. I can confirm that both Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital have been at Black status (i.e. at capacity) in recent days. Choosing to cancel procedures or appointments is never a decision we take lightly; however it is our only option if we are to relieve some of the pressure and allow staff to concentrate on the most urgent and emergency care.

Professor Caroline Hiscox, Chief Executive, added: “While we have not moved into full Civil Contingency mode, as we did at the start of the pandemic, we have ‘stood up’ certain measures to allow us to closely monitor activity right across the region. This allows us to quickly identify particular stress points and take action to relieve them. I cannot thank our staff enough for the work they are undertaking, especially in light of the very difficult experience of the last 16 months.

Dr June Brown, Executive Nurse Director, said: “The impact of the third wave is being felt at every level of healthcare. Our GP colleagues and those working in community hospitals are also working at capacity. Our close working relationship with the three local Health & Social Care Partnerships has enabled us to support each other and take the right decisions for healthcare as a whole in Grampian.

Professor Fluck added: “I know it is distressing for people to have procedures or appointments postponed, sometimes at very short notice. I apologise to anyone who has been affected by this. We will work to reschedule these, but we cannot offer any guarantees at present about when this might happen. If you are accessing any healthcare services, please be aware delays are likely. I would also make a personal plea to the public to make sure they go to the right place for advice and treatment. Community services like pharmacists, optometrists, and dentists, or self-care following guidance available on the NHS Inform website, may be more appropriate.

Professor Hiscox said: “I know people desperately want a return to normal and to have all their healthcare needs met, not just those related to Covid-19 I want that too. We have had such support from people in the north-east since the pandemic began and we are asking for it again. Please keep following FACTS - wear a face mask, avoid crowded spaces, clean your hands regularly, stay 2 metres distance from others, self-isolate if you develop symptoms, and book a test to help us limit the impact that Covid can have.”