Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant spoke in the Scottish Parliament today on the independent review of Moray maternity services.
Mrs Grant said: “I too welcome the review but feel for families who rightly are frustrated by delays and therefore it would be good to have a clear indication of the time frame for the restoration of full maternity services at Dr Gray’s and, in the meantime, what support will be available for families who have to travel to Aberdeen or Inverness for maternity services, by way of accommodation and of child minding for their families?”
Scottish Government Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, who gave a statement on the issue to MSPs, responded that Mrs Grant’s was a fair request and promised to find out about accommodation and travel costs in conversation with the NHS boards. He had earlier told Parliament that “key milestones” were needed for the development of plans going forward.
After the session, Mrs Grant, said that women in Moray had waited a long time for the review and she was concerned about how Raigmore Hospital would cope with an increased number of births from Moray in the light of continued NHS staff shortages.
Her Labour MSP colleague, Carol Mochan, revealed that there were 365 whole time nurse and midwifery vacancies at NHS Highland and at NHS Grampian 465 vacant posts, while there was a lack of paediatricians.
Mrs Grant said: “While I recognise this is a step forward, I am concerned that, despite promises from the Health Secretary, this will be a long time in the planning with the major stumbling block lack of staff and lack of investment.
“People in Caithness will also be looking to how this progresses as pregnant ‘at risk’ women there are having to endure a 200 mile round trip to give birth in Raigmore. They also will want to see more staff and investment in their area.”
Mrs Grant paid tribute to all those who came forward to give their views to the independent review, including NHS staff, the Keep Mum campaign group and mothers and their families.