A major recruitment drive to hire nearly 100 extra staff to help restore Moray’s maternity services will begin later this month.
Ongoing recruitment problems resulted in the Dr Gray’s unit being downgraded from consultant-led to midwife-led five years ago.
Now a major recruitment drive is about to begin across both the Elgin hospital and Raigmore in Inverness to bring births back closer to home for Moray families.
A marketing campaign is due to be launched in late October to sell the lifestyle in the region and promote the possible future career options.
‘Offering more than just a job’
The major recruitment drive is needed across Moray maternity services and in Inverness as part of a new model of care across both units.
It means Raigmore, which is receiving a £5 million refurbishment as part of the project, has to be able to handle the extra capacity in the short-term.
Meanwhile, efforts will begin recruiting more midwives for Elgin with a 24/7 rota of specialist staff including anaesthetists and operating theatre staff eventually needed.
Jane Gill, who had two babies at Dr Gray’s herself, has been appointed as NHS Grampian and NHS Highland’s joint programme director for the Moray maternity service plan.
After initially moving to Lossiemouth in 1994 when her husband was posted there in the RAF, she believes the work-life balance is second to none having previously stayed in the US and Europe.
She said: “The key challenge for us is going to be recruitment and having the staff in place.
“Recruitment has started and we have a huge marketing campaign starting in late October with a new website to really promote it.
‘A whole-hospital experience’
“There are two things we want to do, the first is to really promote what Moray and the Highlands have as an area to live in.
“And the second is around the career options. Dr Gray’s has a fantastic whole-hospital experience and there’s the potential to grow and develop the services together.
“It’s obviously still in easy reach of Aberdeen and Inverness too and we are looking at offering flexible working and other different things too.
“It’s going to be really difficult, we can’t underestimate that. The lifestyle is amazing so if we can combine that with professional development then that’s the way we’ve got to do it.
“We’re offering more than a job.”
Focus on Moray maternity targets
The current target for restoring a consultant-let unit to Elgin is 2026.
However, in 2025 there are expectations that Moray women will be able to choose whether they want to give birth in Aberdeen or Inverness. Elective caesareans are returning to Dr Gray’s the same year.
Earlier this year it was announced Moray women already in labour would be able to be transferred to Inverness, which is just 37 miles from Elgin instead of the 65 miles to Aberdeen.
Mrs Gill said: “The ultimate aim for us is to restore the services to Dr Gray’s. The key thing for us is to look at those milestones and focus on the journey of how to get there.
“Giving women in labour the option to transfer to Raigmore is already a significant achievement. It used to be an option before the downgrade but it’s back in place now.
“It feels really good to have that option there again.”
Jobs will be advertised for maternity services in Elgin and Inverness online HERE.