Patients in the north-east waiting for elective surgeries could be offered space at an island hospital to speed up the process.
According to a report to be discussed by the board of NHS Grampian today, early talks are ongoing to use excess capacity in the surgical service of NHS Shetland and NHS Orkney for urology and general surgeries.
Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin could also be used and the report details plans to use the private Albyn Hospital for elective surgeries.
In a bid to address a backlog of patients waiting more than 18 months, the board proposed a number of measures which will be assessed at today’s meeting.
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The report reads: “As requested, we have undertaken a detailed analysis of the patients waiting over 78 weeks, which are mainly in the specialities of general surgery, urology and plastic surgery.
“To increase capacity, we are proposing to reallocate capacity at Dr Gray’s Hospital, use available capacity at Albyn Hospital and to discuss with NHS Shetland regarding using the capacity they have.
“The other category of patients waiting longest is in plastic surgery. We believe this could be addressed through a redesign of current capacity and discussions are ongoing with the clinical team to agree an improvement plan.
“If the measure is implemented, patients will be offered the chance to bring their procedure forward by going to the islands.”
NHS Grampian currently has a working relationship with the boards which sees patients undergo operations in the north-east.
An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “We are exploring this with colleagues from NHS Orkney and NHS Shetland to ensure full use of resources for patients who are waiting a longer period of time for their procedures in Aberdeen.
“No firm decisions have been taken at this time. If we were to proceed with this, it would be in the form of an offer to patients. No-one would be compelled to travel to the Northern Isles for treatment.”