Maximise the number of women able to give birth in Moray

Douglas Ross has called on the Scottish Government to maximise the number of Moray women able to give birth in their local hospital, in the wake of a long-awaited review of maternity services.

The Scottish Conservative leader sought the assurances in response to a parliamentary statement from Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, who acknowledged the current situation – where most Moray women are forced to travel 65 miles from Elgin to Aberdeen to have their baby – is “unacceptable”.

The Health Secretary’s admission came after Douglas Ross queried why the current model had been allowed to remain in place for more than three years when the report stated it carried “potential risks to patient safety”.

Douglas Ross, who called on his personal experience of the problems with maternity care in Moray, ultimately wants the return of a full consultant-led maternity service at Dr Gray’s in Elgin.

But he welcomed the report’s recommendation that elective caesareans will return to the hospital, as well as the Health Secretary’s promise to visit Moray to speak to local clinicians and politicians before he decides how to implement the review early next year.

Humza Yousaf also assured Douglas Ross that Raigmore Hospital in Inverness had the capacity to accommodate significant numbers of women from Moray, after the report recommended that those unable to give birth at Dr Gray’s be split between there and Aberdeen.

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross MSP, said: “I hope we can agree to do everything possible to maximise the number of women having their children at Dr Gray’s to minimise those who have to give birth outwith the area.

“The review said the status quo was promptly considered to be inappropriate and that the current model carries potential risks to patient safety. So why have we been living with this in Moray for over three years?

“We need an action plan with key milestone so we can monitor progress. My hope is for as many Moray women as possible to give birth locally.

“I can draw on my own family’s experience here. We are blessed with two great kids but they were born in very different circumstances. 

“Alistair came into the world at Dr Gray’s and after getting great care and support we travelled just a few miles home with our new born.

“With James it was very different, his heart rate started to drop as he became stressed in labour. When you get told that, you immediately worry and I know how stressful it was for my wife, Krystle.

“To then see her put on a trolley and strapped into the back of an ambulance in pain and having contractions was one of the worst experiences of my life.

“You feel so utterly helpless at the very time your wife and unborn child need you most.

“I say all this because whether its 40 miles to Inverness or 65 miles to Aberdeen – that journey adds stress, worry and alarm at an already emotional time.”

Notes

The report can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/report-moray-maternity-services-review/

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