NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

NHS Grampian could need 'hundreds' of volunteers to maintain services

Australian nurses
Image caption NHS Grampian is acting to maintain services

Hundreds of volunteers could be needed to maintain services during a staffing crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak, NHS Grampian has said.

The health board expects the impact of the virus itself on the workforce, coupled with the challenge of childcare with the closure of schools, will impact on staffing.

An appeal is being made for retired healthcare workers and nursing students to come forward.

Help with logistics is also needed.

This would involve areas such as transport and deliveries.

NHS Grampian's nurse director Dr Caroline Hiscox said the range of roles could be "huge" and anticipated they would need "hundreds" of people.

'Everybody wants to help'

She explained: "Clearly there are specific things around people who will be delivering direct care in hospitals, so that could be staff that have recently retired or nursing students or medical students.

"However in the wider context we'd be looking for people who can support transport, people who can support deliveries, just the general logistics of managing a major operation.

"The anticipation of the number of volunteers that we are going to get from across the north east (of Scotland) is just going to be significant - everybody wants to help and everybody recognises the challenge that we face.

"I would suggest that at the moment we don't put a limit on that, and if somebody feels that they can contribute in any way then they would make contact with us."

A facility to deal with offers is being put together.

Medical director Prof Nick Fluck said localised testing for coronavirus would shortly be rolled out, to help get a more accurate picture of where the virus was actually hitting.

He said testing for critical staff members could get them back to work as quickly as possible.

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