The emergency department at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin will only be able to treat those with life-threatening injuries “for the time being” due to a norovirus outbreak, it has been announced.
On Friday evening, NHS Grampian released a statement confirming that the outbreak had affected a total of 23 patients and staff, with four wards closed to new admissions.
Alasdair Pattinson, hospital manager at the site, explained that the outbreak, combined with existing Covid pressures, had put the hospital under “severe pressure”.
But, he gave an assurance to the public that those facing life-threatening situations are still being seen rapidly as an “absolute priority”.
Those who do not come under that category are being asked to call NHS 24 on 111 before coming to hospital.
Pattinson outlined the pressures facing the hospital as he explained there is a lack of beds available.
“Due to a norovirus outbreak at Dr Gray’s Hospital, affecting a combined total of 23 patients and staff, four wards have been closed to new admissions,” he said.
“This, coupled with existing Covid-19 pressures, has put the hospital under severe pressure due to a lack of beds to admit new patients to.
“For the time being, at our Emergency Department in Elgin, we will only be able to treat those with life-threatening conditions. Patients in these situations should continue to immediately call 999.
“We would assure the public that those facing life-threatening situations are continuing to be seen rapidly for life-saving treatment, as an absolute priority.
“It is vital that, in order to assist us, other members of the public call NHS 24 on 111 prior to coming to hospital.”
Pattinson said that those directed to hospital by 111 will “unfortunately” face a lengthy wait to be see.
And he explained that the wards affected are also closed to all visitors, apart from patients receiving end of life care.
“Anyone attending at ED may well be redirected to 111 or another appropriate service,” he continued.
“Those directed to hospital by 111 will unfortunately face a lengthy wait to be seen. This may also have an impact on access to wider NHS Grampian health and social care services.
“Unfortunately the affected wards – which are wards one, five, six and eight – are also closed to all visitors except those receiving end of life care.
“If you feel it is essential to visit one of these wards this weekend, please contact the nurse in charge of the appropriate ward in advance to discuss the most appropriate option.”
He added: “We would like to apologise for the significant inconvenience this will cause some people and thank the Moray public for its patience and understanding.
“Our frontline staff continue to work incredibly hard to see and treat as many patients and possible and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank them for their efforts.”