Carrying out all emergency surgeries in Ninewells Hospital will benefit patients by reducing waiting times for planned operations, a leading surgeon has claimed.
Consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon Sankar Sripada said the decision to create two “streams” of surgery – emergency and non-emergency – will also help reduce the numbers of patients who have to travel to the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank for operations such as hip replacements.
Mr Sripada said: “At the moment certain patients are going past Stracathro, Ninewells and Perth Royal Infirmary on their way to Golden Jubilee so it will be nice to catch them at one of the Tayside hospitals.
“We’re waiting up to five to six months for some planned surgery and some patients who don’t want to go to Golden Jubilee are waiting a bit longer.
“Our plan is to reduce that by doing more elective surgeries at Perth and Stratchathro.
“The conflict between planned and emergency surgeries we’ve had to cancel operations.
If you stream the emergency and non-emergency surgeries, the risk of cancellation is a lot less.”
Mr Sripada said patients who are admitted to PRI after 5pm and require emergency surgery already have to travel to Ninewells.
And he said the rising number of planned operations, caused in part by the ageing population, makes the redesign of surgical services necessary.
Mr Sripada added that while he understands some patients may not be happy at the proposed changes, which are part of the Transforming Tayside programme, he said the benefits do outweigh any negatives.
As well as financial saying, he said the move will standardise care levels, allow surgeons to carry out a greater number of operations and keep more patients closer to home.
A public consultation on Transforming Tayside will take place at Forfar Community Centre on Saturday.
The Scottish Government approved plans to transfer all emergency surgeries from PRI to Ninewells last year.
The move provoked an outcry from opposition politicians, who said PRI was being “downgraded”.