Scottish hospital backlog caused by Covid ‘will take years to resolve’, warns NHS chief

An NHS chief said clearing the backlog of hospital operations will take years “will take years”.

Professor Caroline Hiscox, who is the chief executive of NHS Grampian, said the current workload due to rising numbers from the coronavirus pandemic has left staff “exhausted”.

The NHS Grampian is urging residents in the area to help relieve pressure on health services, reminding patients to call 111 rather than going directly to hospital if they sustain an injury that does not involve not their life in danger.

The recent spike in infections has put many parts of the NHS in Scotland under pressure, with some hospitals declaring ‘code black’ and postponing elective surgeries.

Professor Hiscox told the Press and Journal: “Every day clinicians sit down and discuss who will have access to the operating room.

“One of the things they discuss every day is how they avoid canceling patients waiting for surgery.”

She added, “When we talk about recovering things like surgery, we are not talking about weeks, we are not talking about months, we are talking about years to recover the position of our surgical backlog.”

Admissions to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary are increasing “significantly and rapidly”, she said, as many staff became “exhausted”.

Professor Hiscox continued: “The number of patients treated by accident and emergency, or through their general practitioners, is sicker and the volume of these patients is higher.

“We had to reduce our box spring to respect physical distancing. “

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