Scottish Labour’s Highlands and Islands lead candidate, Rhoda Grant, has pledged to continue campaigning for better support and services for pregnant women in Caithness.
Mrs Grant acknowledges that there has been some progress by the Scottish Government to investigate steps to help women, but there is much still to be done to ensure there are minimal risks for them.
“There has been some progress with a new initiative called Best Start, including the development of an in-utero transfer risk assessment tool which will assist clinicians in their decision to transfer pregnant women who are threatened with pre-term labour, as part of the Maternity Transport Group,” she said.
“This will support midwives in remote and rural areas in making decision about transferring women, but I have been told further work is needed in refining it
“I have campaigned on this for the past five years and will campaign further until a full risk assessment has been carried out that gives women and the community at large more confidence in transfers to Raigmore.
“A total of 90% of Caithness women currently give birth in Raigmore hospital, over 100 miles away, and really that needs to be addressed.
“There has never been a risk assessment on emergency transfers or indeed on the journeys south that pregnant women face, sometimes in appalling weather conditions.
“It would be even better if obstetric and paediatric support could be put in place at Caithness General to stop most pregnant women travelling to Raigmore hospital to give birth.
It’s been a long haul, but I continue to listen to women and the community on this and I am passionate about keeping up the pressure until there is a result.”