NHS Grampian is warning that it is being stretched further than ever before with Covid-19 continuing to apply an “incredible level of pressure” on the health board.
The deputy chief executive said the health board is now facing a daily challenge of having enough beds to treat cancer patients, trauma patients, coronavirus patients and other unplanned emergencies.
Those living in the north-east are being asked for their understanding of the challenges being faced throughout health and community care across the region.
Adam Coldwells, deputy chief executive of NHS Grampian, said: “The reality of the situation is around 80 beds are being used by Covid-19 patients every day and to staff our hospitals daily becomes more difficult due to the increasing demand.
“Every day comes with the added challenge to have enough beds to allow us to treat cancer patients, trauma patients, Covid-19 patients and other unplanned emergencies.
“There is an incredible effort to care for those who urgently need it.”
Community hospitals and care settings are facing similar challenges in providing services, whether that be at home or on a ward.
Mr Coldwells added: “It means those who can wait, will wait longer and longer for procedures including hip replacements, knee replacements, laparoscopies and other elective procedures – ultimately having a grave impact on those individual’s quality of life.
“We want to mitigate that as much as possible.”
Residents are being urged to use the right service, including dialling NHS 111.
Mr Coldwells added that it was also vital for people to take up the offer of a Covid vaccination.
He said: “We want to continue to serve our communities in the north-east of Scotland and beyond.
“When thinking twice about vaccination, I would urge the public not only to think about their own wellbeing and that of our loved ones, but we must include our own staff across health, social care and the ambulance service in that.
“We need to protect those who protect us. It’s that simple.”
Employers are also being urged to play their part to help bring the pressure down.
Mr Coldwells explained: “We still see the vast majority of people who are fit to go home being collected by relatives and friends at around 6pm in the evening – following their work.
“We need employers to be flexible to allow employees to help us get people who are fit to go home from hospital there sooner – this benefits not just the patient being discharged but it allows us to admit an acutely ill person to that bed.
“Help us treat more people more quickly.”
Employers are being urged to pledge their support to the health board’s scheme, as well as allowing staff to work from home if they can.
Mr Coldwells added: “This does make a difference whilst the vaccination programmes are ongoing.
“We are still in a global pandemic and there has never been a period before where the health service has needed the public’s support so much. Let’s each play our part.
“Finally, I want to give a heartfelt thanks to everyone across health and social care for the incredible work that they do in these times.
“From people on the frontline to staff working from home to keep these systems going, every cog is needed to keep the wheels turning.
“We are lucky to have our health service. Let’s cherish it.”