Campaigners battling to save Moray’s maternity ward met with two high-ranking figures from NHS Scotland yesterday to discuss the ongoing crisis at the hospital.
Keep Mum wanted to raise concerns they had about the new plans to downgrade the maternity service at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin.
The new sysyem will be launched next week and will mean that mums-to-be classified as having medium or high risk pregnancies will be transferred to either Aberdeen or Inverness to give birth.
This is due to staffing problems at the hospital.
The campaign group met with the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Midwife for Scotland at Dr Gray’s yesterday.
During the visit, Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood claimed that mothers-to-be will not be put at risk by the downgrade.
She said: “I am absolutely sure this is the right thing to do.”
Moray Conservative MP Douglas Ross is, however, still concerned about the plans and wants the Scottish Government to act quickly to improve the situation.
He said: “I wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Health last week calling for action and I am glad that campaigners in Moray have today had the chance to put their points across to the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Midwife for Scotland. However, I am concerned that the Health Secretary said these plans are ‘very safe’. I would also urge people to make their views known, by signing the petition or by joining the peaceful protest.
“It is absolutely imperative that the Scottish Government gets a grip. This is their responsibility. It is quite obvious that there has been a failure in workforce planning and they need to own up to that and find a solution.”
The petition to save the maternity ward has garnered over 10,000 signatures in just five days, with a protest due to take place on Saturday on Elgin High Street.
Richard Lochhead, SNP MSP for the region, is looking to bring this topic up in Parliament and has lodged a motion to do so.
He said: “I’ve called on the Scottish Government to intervene and to work with NHS Grampian to ensure the long term future of the consultant-led unit, and have asked them to look at every option in the short term including whether doctors can be seconded to Elgin to plug the gaps.”