The NHS Grampian has said the Royal Aberdeen Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, Moray have had to postpone elective elective surgeries due to the growing number of Covid patients.
The board of health blamed growing pressure for the increase in Covid-19 cases in the northeast, both due to the number of patients requiring inpatient treatment and staff absences due to demands for self – isolation for the decision to postpone non-urgent procedures.
It follows an NHS Highland announcement on Wednesday that Raigmore Hospital in Inverness had reached capacity and declared code black status – stopping all elective elective surgeries.
NHS Grampian Medical Director Professor Nick Fluck said: “This is a dynamic situation, subject to change every day. I can confirm that the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital have been at black status (i.e. at full capacity) for the past few days.
“Choosing to cancel procedures or appointments is never a decision we take lightly; however, this is our only option if we are to take some of the pressure off and allow staff to focus on the most urgent and urgent care.
“I know it is painful for people to see procedures or appointments postponed, sometimes very short term. I apologize to everyone who has been affected by this.
“We will work to reschedule them, but we cannot offer any guarantees at this time as to when this might happen.
“If you access health services, be aware that delays are likely. “
Ahead of the NHS Grampian’s announcement, BMA Scotland warned that action is needed in the days ahead to tackle “a very high level of pressure” on the NHS in Scotland due to the increase in coronavirus cases.
The doctors’ union said hospitals may have to consider canceling elective treatment unless steps are taken to ease the pressure on staff.
Dr Lewis Morrison, chairman of BMA Scotland, told the BBC’s Lunchtime Live radio show that decisions need to be made quickly regarding staff absences due to the requirement to self-isolate.
He said: ‘Raigmore is an example of what could well happen in other places in the NHS in Scotland if we don’t take action to deal with what is a very high level of pressure on healthcare, both in general medicine and in hospitals, combined with the increase in Covid cases, forcing a fairly large number of employees to self-isolate as contacts. “
Dr Morrison said any changes in self-isolation policies for double-vaccinated healthcare workers should be safe for patients and the staff themselves.
He said meetings were taking place within the Scottish government “with some urgency” on the issue.
Dr Morrison continued, “In the coming days I think some sort of decision needs to be made to ensure the continuity of health services in areas under this kind of pressure.
“It’s as urgent as that I think. “
The news comes as the UK has recorded the highest number of new cases recorded in the third wave and since Wednesday 23 January.
A total of 32,548 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past 24 hours and there have been 33 deaths.