NHS Grampian has taken steps to maximise access to the Islands Accommodation unit at Aberdeen Maternity hospital.

Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur has received reassurances from NHS Grampian Acting Chief Executive, Malcolm Wright that steps will be taken to increase accommodation capacity for Aberdeen Maternity hospital. This follows representations made by Mr McArthur in light of concerns raised by constituents who found themselves unable to access the Islands Accommodation and having to book into expensive hotel accommodation outside Aberdeen.

Given the contribution made by the public in Orkney and Shetland to funding the recent refurbishment of the Islands Accommodation unit, Mr McArthur expressed surprise and concern at these reports. He called for “suitable reassurances” that individuals and families travelling down from the islands would be accommodated.

Writing in response to Mr McArthur, Malcolm Wright admitted that occupancy levels at the Islands Accommodation Unit can fluctuate but “in recent weeks we [NHS Grampian] have sometimes had waiting lists for people wishing to access accommodation.”

As a result of Mr McArthur’s enquiry, however, Charge Midwives and Nurses will be reminded of the need to undertake weekly reviews to ensure “the appropriate allocation of rooms”. In addition, NHS Grampian is now “seeking agreement with the children’s hospital to make rooms available to parents whose child is in the neonatal unit when no other space is available.” Mr Wright anticipates this step will increase local capacity.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

“It is certainly welcome news that NHS Grampian has listened to the concerns of local people and will now take steps to ensure individuals and families from the islands will have access to suitable accommodation at Aberdeen Maternity hospital.

“The Islands Accommodation Unit has been a godsend for islanders using services at Aberdeen Maternity hospital, which explains why so much money was raised in the Northern Isles for its refurbishment recently. It was therefore deeply concerning to hear of too many examples where constituents were found themselves having to book into alternative accommodation, often a significant cost.

“I am grateful to NHS Grampian for heeding these concerns. I recognise that cases may still arise where rooms are not available, but the steps outlined do offer reassurance that increased capacity is being identified. Meantime, I am grateful to constituents who came forward to share their concerns. It is their experience that has now directly led to action by NHS Grampian.”


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