Moray MP Douglas Ross has accused NHS Grampian of “not being serious” about re-opening the minor injury unit at Turner Memorial Hospital in Keith and treating Moray differently to other parts of the Grampian area.
Douglas’ comments come after bosses at the health board confirmed to him that there are no plans to reopen minor injury units, which was also made clear following questions by Buckie Conservative Councillor Tim Eagle last month.
Douglas says he is extremely disappointed that the health board are only “keeping the plans under review” and have failed to commit to a timescale to re-open the unit in Keith.
He says that’s a “bitter blow” especially when similar minor injury units in Aberdeenshire are being re-mobilised again following the pandemic, including in Turiff, Banff, Aboyne and Stonehaven.
Douglas added that rural and remote communities in Moray are in danger of being left behind and there’s a real risk that this could be a stepping stone to further downgrading or closure of local health services.
Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “The continued refusal of NHS Grampian to commit to re-opening the minor injury unit in Keith is a bitter blow for people living there.
“It is especially tough to take when we see other minor units get the green light to re-open, albeit gradually, in Aberdeenshire. NHS Grampian should be delivering for the whole of the area, but they seem happy for patients in Moray to get a poorer service than those in neighbouring Aberdeenshire.
“The last two years have put enormous pressure on our health service and it was understandable that resources were diverted towards tackling the Covid crisis and the subsequent vaccination programme. However, as we learn to live with Covid, impetus should be put on getting minor injury units such as the one at Turner Memorial Hospital re-opened.
“Many local residents have been in touch with me about the completely unacceptable situation they now find themselves in of having to travel miles away to treat minor injuries.
“My real fear is that the continued refusal to re-open this minor injury unit is a stepping stone to a further downgrading of services, or even closing them as we’ve seen before in Forres.
“I will continue to urge NHS Grampian to re-think this decision so constituents in Keith can easily access health services like this in their own community.”