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No inspections at Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin for six years


By Ewan Malcolm

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THERE have been no inspections at Dr Gray's Hospital for six years, according to NHS data.

There have been no inspections at Dr Gray's Hospital for six years. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
There have been no inspections at Dr Gray's Hospital for six years. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Statistics from Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), which is part of the Scottish National Health Service, reveal that the hospital has not been inspected since November 2017.

Since HIS's creation in 2011, a total of 36 hospitals across Scotland have never been inspected while a further 29 have not been inspected in the last five years.

Fleming Cottage Hospital in Aberlour, Stephen Cottage Hospital in Dufftown, Turner Memorial Hospital in Keith and Seafield Hospital in Buckie were all last inspected in August 2019.

The inspections are carried out to ensure that hospitals are delivering a safe standard of care.

However, as a result of service pressures caused in part by the Covid-19 pandemic the inspection process has been adapted.

A spokesperson for Healthcare Improvement Scotland said: "Our approach remains focused on helping services identify and minimise risk to support patient safety and continuous improvement.

"We have an established inspection prioritisation procedure in place which helps us to target inspection resources to best effect.

"The process for prioritising inspections is regularly refreshed and includes analysis of a range of available data and intelligence to identify issues and adapt our inspection focus accordingly.

“Hospitals that haven’t been inspected in the last 5 years are smaller community or acute hospitals where available data and intelligence placed these sites at a lower risk rating.

“Our current inspection process is much broader than previous inspection approaches, considering a complex and comprehensive range of factors that impact on safety and quality of care, to provide assurance to patients and the public, and support ongoing improvements in care.

"Following each inspection, we publish inspection reports to outline our findings and the actions being taken by NHS boards in response to our findings."

Moray MP Douglas Ross says he is "appalled" at the lack of inspections at Dr Gray's. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Moray MP Douglas Ross says he is "appalled" at the lack of inspections at Dr Gray's. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Moray MP Douglas Ross has labelled the revelation "deeply concerning" adding that inspections are vital in highlighting how hospitals are coping under immense pressure.

Mr Ross said: "I was shocked and appalled to learn that Dr Gray’s Hospital has not been inspected for six years now.

“That timing is significant given it includes the whole period since consultant-led maternity services were temporarily downgraded in Elgin in 2018 as well.

"Those services will not fully return until at least 2026, leaving expectant Moray mums having to travel elsewhere to give birth.

“Rural hospitals like Dr Gray’s have been neglected by the SNP-Green government and NHS Grampian. It is deeply concerning that we simply have no idea as to how the hospital has been coping in recent years under immense pressure.

“That is what regular inspections allow us to see and give patients and staff reassurance about the level of care being provided, so they will be alarmed at this news.

“The lack of routine inspections at Dr Gray’s must be an urgent wake-up call for Michael Matheson, the under-fire SNP health secretary.

"He must give people here in Moray the guarantee that an inspection at Dr Gray’s will be carried out as a priority."


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