NHS Grampian has revealed plans to spend an additional £1 million to help prepare hospitals across the region for the busy winter season.
The health board will discuss proposals to help staff deal with an influx of patients over the colder months at a meeting today.
A report, which will be scrutinised by health chiefs and covers hospitals in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray, says the board hopes to use the funds largely on staffing to support additional capacity in dealing with an anticipated surge in demand.
Additional staff will be used to maximise bed capacity, particularly at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI).
However, employees could be deployed to other sites if there are challenges at community hospitals.
Proposals are in place for an extra 36 beds for medical patients and four stroke beds at ARI.
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Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership is also creating 20 spaces within its sheltered housing complexes.
Aberdeenshire Community Hospitals will work with staff at the city hospital to plan ahead for the staffing of wards.
Board papers revealed that Moray Health and Social Care Partnership also has similar plans in place.
The report said: “The winter plan commits an additional £1m which is largely spent on staffing to support additional capacity, mainly manifest in beds either in hospital or the community.
“The plan, for the first time this year, is aiming to use this additional staffing to maximise bed capacity in the most appropriate part of the system between ARI and Aberdeenshire Community Hospitals.”
It is further stated in the report that virtual commununity ward models introduced at GP practices in both regions will ensure preventative measures are in place to keep vulnerable patients in the community and reduce hospital admissions.
GP practices will also have a system where they will be able to offer extra “on the day” appointments based on a surge in demand.