MORAY residents are being asked to have a say on proposed changes to services at the children’s ward at Dr Gray’s Hospital. NHS Grampian wants to change the service from an in-patient paediatric ward to a short stay paediatric assessment unit. Consultation is under way and a series of public events are being held. It comes after staffing shortages forced the unit to move to restricted hours in both August 2017 and March 2018. The restrictions are still in place and the ward remains closed overnight. Under the proposal, overnight service would be reinstated, but it more children would be transferred out of Elgin than pre-March 2018. At the moment, around 22-23 children are transferred to Aberdeen every month for their care. The new model would see that reduced to 13 or 14, compared to between eight and 10 before the staffing crisis took hold. Over the last few months, a group of specialists from the local service have worked with staff from across the hospital as well as public representatives and a local campaign group representative to identify a way forward. Patient services manager Louise Ballantyne said: “We really value the opinions from our patients, members of the public and our staff on the changes at the hospital. “NHS Grampian staff will be on hand, will listen to any feedback and look to address any concerns anyone has about the project.” Members of the can also take part online via https://bit.ly/2RP42vR if they cannot attend the public events. A drop-in will be held at Buckie Community Centre on September 16 from 3pm-6.30pm.