Orkney MSP Liam McArthur joined campaigners from the Friends of the Neuro Ward ARI for a meeting on Friday with NHS Grampian management to discuss plans for refurbishment of the neuro ward at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and staff recruitment.
The meeting in Aberdeen with NHS Grampian's Director of Improvement, Graeme Smith was the latest in a series involving Friends of the Neuro Ward, a cross-party group of supportive parliamentarians and NHS Grampian in relation to refurbishment of a ward that remains largely as it was when it was first constructed in the mid-1960s. Delays in undertaking this work have given rise to serious concerns about the impact on patients and staff. Indeed, Orkney's MSP joined with North East MSP, Liam Kerr to write to NHS Grampian’s Chief Executive, Malcolm Wright back in August calling for action to address staffing issues and delays to appointments that were causing “anxiety among patients and their families.”
Speaking after Friday's meeting, Mr McArthur said NHS Grampian has “gone some way” to meeting those concerns following confirmation from NHS Grampian that funding has been confirmed for improvement works starting from June next year. The ward, however, will have to relocate whilst the works are being done.
Commenting, Liam McArthur MSP said:
“I was delighted to hear confirmation from NHS Grampian that they now have the plans and funding in place to begin refurbishment of the neuro ward at ARI in June next year. This news has been a long time coming but is testimony to the tireless efforts of Caroline Critchlow, Carolyn Toshney and all those involved with Friends of the Neuro Ward. They have campaigned so hard and raised so much money to get improvements delivered on behalf of patients and staff. I pay tribute to all they have done to ensure that those suffering brain injury in the future, and their families, get the support they need in an environment that is fit for the 21st century.
"From our discussions with Graeme Smith, it is clear that this project is going to be a complex, logistical challenge, involving the temporary relocation of different wards. This makes the need for ensuring good and regular communications between the board and Friends of the Neuro Ward all the more important. I am pleased that this was agreed and am sure it will help give confidence that everything possible is being done to deliver the refurbishment on time.
"Friday's meeting showed there is light at the end of the tunnel but patients, their families and staff at the Neuro ward will now be impatient to see these promises made real. I share that impatience and will do all I can to ensure there is no slippage in delivery.”