Drop-in sessions on changes to Dr Gray's children's ward
MORAY residents are being asked to have a say on proposed changes to services at the children's ward at Dr Gray's Hospital.
NHS Grampian wants to change the service from an in-patient paediatric ward to a short stay paediatric assessment unit.
Consultation is underway and a series of public events gets underway in Forres this afternoon.
It comes after staffing shortages forced the unit to move to restricted hours in both August 2017 and March 2018. The restrictions are still in place and the ward remains closed overnight.
Under the proposal, overnight service would be re-instated, but it would see more children transferred out of Elgin than pre-March 2018.
At the moment, around 22-23 children are transferred to Aberdeen every month for their care.
The new model would see that reduced to 13 or 14, compared to between 8 and 10 before the staffing crisis took hold.
Over the last few months, a group of specialists from the local service have worked with staff from across the hospital as well as public representatives and a local campaign group representative to identify a way forward.
Patient services manager Louise Ballantyne said: "Please drop by anytime between 3-6.30pm to the Forres Community Centre, or any of the other drop-in sessions, for an informal chat, to ask questions and give your views on the proposed model for the children's ward at Dr Gray's.
"Forres is just the first event with others scheduled for Lossiemouth, Keith, Elgin, Buckie and Aberlour.
"We really value the opinions from our patients, members of the public and our staff on the changes at the hospital.
"NHS Grampian staff will be on hand will listen to any feedback and look to address any concerns anyone has about the project.
"The consultation period is already more than halfway through and is due to finish at the end of September so please make your voice heard before then."
Members of the can also take part online if they cannot attend the public events.
Further drop-in events will be held at Lossiemouth Community Centre on September 2; Keith Town Hall on September 12; Buckie Community Centre on September 16; and Aberlour Community Centre on September 23. All the events will run between 3- 6.30pm with those wishing to attend free to drop-by at any time.