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Two more hospitals declare 'code black' as capacity reached amid surging cases

Two more hospitals in Scotland have declared rare ‘code black’ alerts as capacity is reached amid surging Covid cases.

Non-urgent elective operations will be postponed at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in the Granite City and Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin.

The move was made after the number of patients needing hospital treatment increased and many staff went into isolation.

It comes just a day after Raigmore Hospital in Inverness declared ‘code black’.

NHS Grampian medical director Professor Nick Fluck said: ‘This is a dynamic situation, subject to change throughout each day.

‘I can confirm that both Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital have been at black status (i.e. at capacity) in recent days.

‘Choosing to cancel procedures or appointments is never a decision we take lightly; however it is our only option if we are to relieve some of the pressure and allow staff to concentrate on the most urgent and emergency care.

‘I know it is distressing for people to have procedures or appointments postponed, sometimes at very short notice. I apologise to anyone who has been affected by this.

‘We will work to reschedule these, but we cannot offer any guarantees at present about when this might happen.

‘If you are accessing any healthcare services, please be aware delays are likely.’

Action is needed within a matter of days to tackle ‘a very high level of pressure’ on the NHS in Scotland, the British Medical Association warned this week.

Dr Lewis Morrison, BMA Scotland chair, has warned more hospitals will soon be declaring ‘code black’ if something is not done fast.

Decisions on staff absences need to be made quickly, he told the BBC’s Lunchtime Live radio programme.

He said: ‘Raigmore is an example of what might well happen in other places in the NHS in Scotland if we don’t take some action to deal with what is a very high level of pressure on healthcare, both in general practice and in hospitals, combined with rising Covid cases leading to a quite large number of staff having to self-isolate as contacts.’

Scotland has recorded 3,799 positive cases in the past 24 hours.

The number of Covid deaths remains low, with 21 recorded over the past week – an increase of four compared to the previous seven days.

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