Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain has challenged the health secretary over the growing concern about the viability of maternity services at Caithness.
Figures released last week showed only one in five expectant mothers were able to give birth in the north Highlands last year – with 80% sent on a 100-mile trip to Inverness.
And it has since emerged that two mothers-to-be had to make their own arrangements to get to the Highland capital after changes to the baby unit at Caithness General in Wick.
Yesterday, Tory MSP Mr Mountain challenged Health Secretary Shona Robison over the situation.
Mr Mountain, who has previously challenged the government on the issue in Holyrood, said: “I raise the issue of two mums who had to travel to Raigmore hospital while in labour and in horrendous weather conditions.
“In one case, the snow gates were closed, which meant that two attempts were needed to get the woman to Raigmore hospital in a private four-by-four before she got through.
“It is clear to me and the people of Caithness that NHS Highland’s management model for Caithness general hospital is not working.”
Ms Robison urged Mr Mountain to contact her with specific details about the two mothers who had to make their own arrangements to travel to Inverness.
She added: “I am very aware of the fact that NHS Highland has taken the difficult decision to make changes to obstetric maternity services at the hospital in Caithness, and the chief medical officer has kept closely in touch with the progress that is being made.
“As Edward Mountain knows, the decision was made on the ground of patient safety.
“Although there was no consultation on the issue because of that, I have made it clear that it is very important that we keep local people in touch and allow them to contribute to discussions on the need to strengthen services not just in the Scottish Ambulance Service, but in Raigmore hospital, as the receiving hospital for those cases.”