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Health / Operation delays left islanders ‘frustrated and anxious’ in Aberdeen

PATIENTS from Shetland and Orkney recently transferred to hospital in Aberdeen for cardiac treatment have been facing long waits – with one local man said to have decided to return home without his operation after “having enough”.

Orkney councillor John Ross Scott, who himself had been in Aberdeen awaiting treatment, said in a letter to NHS Grampian in early August that some patients from the Northern Isles were growing “frustrated and anxious” at their waits, which were compounded by cancelled procedures.

John Ross Scott.

He said patients were aware of a “major backlog” in operations due to a lack of one-to-one staff and beds in intensive care, caused by “Covid and holidays”.

Scott said at one point a Shetland patient reportedly left Aberdeen without undergoing a serious heart operation because he was fed up with waiting – before returning at a later date.

But the situation is said to have improved since, with NHS Grampian chief executive Caroline Hiscox writing in response that she had acted on Scott’s information.

She also apologised to the councillor for the impact of his pre-operative experience.

Scott, a former chairman of NHS Orkney, said he had been in hospital since June and had been placed in three different wards in Aberdeen.

He was transferred to Aberdeen for an aortic valve replacement, which he has now undergone.

Writing in his letter to NHS Grampian in early August, the Orkney councillor said: “The care given has been excellent throughout my journey, but communication has been lacking here in Aberdeen.

“At present – to my knowledge – there seven Orkney and Shetland patients here awaiting surgery and some of us who have had to go through cancellations (I’ve had two) are getting quite frustrated and anxious by the wait and our absence from home.”

Scott said last week that the backlog had improved, and writing to Hiscox he said he wanted to thank NHS Grampian for the care they gave him.

Speaking to Shetland News, the Orkney councillor said NHS Grampian medical director Paul Bachoo has now committed to undertake a full review of the patient operation delays.

NHS Grampian said there has been unprecedented demand from emergency cases, while Covid is taking up “up to one third to half of our bed base” – leaving less capacity for elective procedures.