Proposals to improve surgical services in NHS Tayside have been approved by the Health Secretary.

All unscheduled admissions in Tayside will be directed to Ninewells Hospital to ensure that all patients have access to a dedicated Acute Surgical Receiving Unit and a staffed 24/7 theatre for unscheduled surgery.

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An expanded elective surgical service will be based at Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI) to treat both cancer patients and other conditions – including complex major surgery to fully utilise critical care facilities at PRI. The Stracathro Regional Treatment Centre will also be optimised to treat patients who meet the criteria for day and short stay patients.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:“NHS Tayside has made a compelling case for these proposals which are supported by clinicians in order to deliver the best care possible.

“I’m pleased that the board has engaged with local people on the proposals and I have been clear that I expect this engagement to continue – particularly with the Scottish Ambulance Service, planning partners and third sector organisations. I also expect the board to keep people in Tayside informed of progress and timescales for implementation of these changes.

“I recognise the concerns expressed during the public consultation process of a potential impact on the Accident and Emergency Department at the Perth Royal Infirmary. I have been clear that an absolute condition of agreeing to these proposals is that the A&E at the PRI will be retained and continue to serve the people of Perthshire.”

“Implementing these proposals will provide the people of Tayside with a safer, higher quality surgical service, whilst also minimising the risk of cancelled procedures. As such, I believe these proposals are in the best interests of the people of Tayside.”

NHS Tayside Chairman, John Brown said, “The Shaping Surgical Services work is a key element to delivering the Board’s vision to transform how health services are delivered in Tayside in the coming years so we welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s decision.

“This transformation of surgical services will create a sustainable service that allows us to deliver high-quality care, balancing the number of operations that can be carried out with the clinical needs of patients.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who took part in the public consultation and shared their views. We will continue to take these views into account as we now get on with making these plans work for our local population.”