Scottish surgery backlog 'could take years' to tackle

The chief executive of NHS Grampian has warned that the backlog of surgery and procedures across Scotland caused by the pandemic could take years to tackle.

Speaking to BBC Scotland about how the hospital service had been impacted by the virus, and what plans are in place to aid the recovery, Prof Caroline Hiscox said waiting lists were currently the longest since records began, with coronavirus disruption expected to continue.

She said: "The modelling that we have is looking at lots of different scenarios. So, locally and nationally. we are working really closely with other boards and the Scottish government to understand what is the recovery programme for surgery.

"And also, how does that need to look different to allow us to recover waiting lists that are bigger than we have ever seen before in NHS Scotland since we started recording them. We are definitely not talking weeks or months, we are talking years to be able stabilise and recover and redesign our approach to surgery in NHS Scotland."

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) and Dr Gray's in Elgin were placed on ‘code black’ status earlier this month, having reached full capacity. In recent days, a ‘small number’ of staff - nurses and healthcare support workers - have been released from the vaccination programme to provide additional support at Dr Gray's.

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