Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Plans for ambulance summit to follow maternity services talks

Following their private meeting in Wick are, from left, David Alston, chairman NHS Highland, Councillor Bill Fernie, chairman of CHAT Liz More, CHAT member, Councilor Roger Saxon, chairman Highland Council's Caithness area committee and Councillor Margaret Davidson, convenor of Highland Council, with Caithness General Hospital in the background.
Following their private meeting in Wick are, from left, David Alston, chairman NHS Highland, Councillor Bill Fernie, chairman of CHAT Liz More, CHAT member, Councilor Roger Saxon, chairman Highland Council's Caithness area committee and Councillor Margaret Davidson, convenor of Highland Council, with Caithness General Hospital in the background.

Community leaders are to arrange urgent talks with ambulance chiefs to address growing public concern about the viability of maternity services in the far north.

In the wake of NHS Highland’s decision to downgrade the Caithness service it emerged that, last year, only one in five expectant mothers were able to give birth in the county, with 80% sent on a 100-mile trip to Inverness.

A “passionate but amicable” three-hour health debate yesterday at Wick Town Hall ended with some optimism.

Campaigners put their concerns about maternity services and Raigmore transfers to NHS chief executive Elaine Mead and board chairman David Alston.

Local councillors joined the three-hour exchange and Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson, on a fact-finding mission to the county, agreed to act as a conduit between activists from the Caithness Health Action Team (Chat) pressure group and the Scottish Ambulance Service.

She said: “I’ve said I’ll convene a meeting. People are very worried about the ambulance service’s ability to respond to emergencies, particularly emergency maternity cases.

“A key issue is about considering any other means of making the transfers easier for people so they’re confident they can be transferred comfortably.

“What’s been useful this week is that Chat has opened channels of communication. There’s a lot of trust to be built yet but I hope this is a turning point.”

Milne Weir, general manager (north) of the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: “We look forward to the opportunity to meet with Margaret Davidson in the near future and discussing service delivery.”

The discussion was the culmination of three days of broad-ranging, top-level, health debates in Caithness.

Chat chairman Bill Fernie welcomed the prospect of talks with ambulance service officials.

He said: “Everybody at today’s meeting agreed that the (maternity) staff are excellent but the deficiencies are still there if people need to go to Raigmore in a hurry because there are no obstetricians to deal with certain conditions.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]