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Call for recovery plan to clear NHS Grampian's operations backlog

By Kyle Ritchie

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A north-east MSP has called for the Scottish Government to outline how it will clear the backlog of operations created while NHS Grampian concentrated on Covid-19.

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett’s call comes as new figures show the number of planned operations in the past year fell by almost 50 per cent compared to the year before.

The Public Health Scotland figures show 18,369 operations were scheduled by the health board over the last year, compared to 34,037 in the previous year. This is equivalent to 46 per cent fewer operations — representing a significant backlog.

After cancellations, 27,953 operations were carried out between May 2019 and April 2020. This compares with 15,101 operations in the past 12 months.

Mr Burnett said: “NHS Grampian has rightly focused on tackling Covid-19, but it is clear that for many patients the wait to get the treatments and operations they need is going to be significantly longer.

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett.
Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett.

“As the situation in our hospitals regarding Covid hopefully continues to improve, hundreds of local patients cannot wait a moment longer to have procedures which have been cancelled as a result of the pandemic.

“The Scottish Government must put a plan in place to clear these operations or Covid could cause even greater suffering – the consequences are really serious.

“If they don’t, a patient’s condition may deteriorate so they are no longer fit for the operation.”

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