Call for government funding to help NHS Grampian roll out electronic communication system
Liam Kerr MSP has called on the Scottish Government to step in and roll out a standard system for every health board across the country amid fears the situation may get worse in the North East over Christmas due to the increased strain on postal services as well as possible strikes.
The Scottish Conservative North East MSP wrote to NHS Grampian after being contacted by worried patients amid critical appointments being missed and diagnoses not shared or shared too late due to issues with post.
In response to Mr Kerr’s letter, NHS Grampian chief executive Caroline Hiscox said that despite supporting a move to an electronic system, the health board’s “financial constraints” mean it’s unable to happen.
She said: “I can assure you that we have revisited this question internally recently as we are aware of and agree with the changing patient expectations, environmental factors and reduced consumable costs that would support moving to an electronic method by default as you mention in your letter.
“We do believe moving to an electronic system would save money in time, but would also involve a fairly substantial transition cost. Given the overall financial constraints NHS Grampian is currently operating under we are not currently in a position to progress this project. It does remain our intention to do so and we will continue to monitor the national option and review our ability to commence the transition on a regular basis.”
Mr Kerr said: “With Christmas fast approaching resulting in postal services being substantially busier, I fear the lack of digital communication could result in appointments and test results being missed due to mail arriving late.
“The continued use of post is expensive and environmentally damaging, which makes it even more disgraceful that the SNP Government hasn’t acted sooner. There needs to be a one-for-all approach for Scottish health boards which NHS Grampian must be a part of but Scottish Government funding needs to be released.”