Almost 80% of Moray mums have been forced to give birth outwith the region since its only maternity ward was downgraded in July.
Services at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin were reduced amid stifling staff shortages which NHS Grampian said meant that only the lowest risk pregnancies could safely be performed there.
Now it has emerged that four out of five babies born to Moray mums in the last two months were delivered elsewhere – with the majority born in Aberdeen.
Before the ward was downgraded, only 15% of local mums had to travel further afield to have their children.
Kirsty Watson, a member of the Keep Mum campaign, described the figures as “shocking but not surprising”.
She said: “It’s totally unacceptable that so many women are having to travel to Aberdeen.
“I don’t think people can comprehend how worrying that kind of situation is until they are in it themselves.”
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In August and September, 180 babies were born to families from the Moray and Banff areas but most were born at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.
Figures highlighted at a meeting of the NHS Grampian board this week confirmed that 51 women still went into labour at Dr Gray’s, but 13 of them were subsequently transferred to Aberdeen or Inverness as their deliveries developed.
The health board’s medical director, Dr Nick Fluck told the board the figures were “encouraging” as they showed that the new system was working.
He said: “I think the figures are encouraging, they suggest we are providing a safe service, we are getting the pathways right in mums who start in Dr Gray’s who need to move.”
The crisis-hit Elgin hospital was offered some hope last week when the chief executive of NHS Scotland, Paul Gray, revealed that new locum paediatric appointments could soon result in fewer pregnant women having to leave Moray to give birth.
Mr Gray said that the easing of the hospital’s staffing dilemma could lead to the reintroduction of elective caesareans, which would allow more women to have their babies in Elgin.
NHS Grampian has submitted a plan to the Scottish Government detailing how maternity and children’s services will be restored to Dr Gray’s.
The blueprint is being considered by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman before it is made public.
Last month, a heavily pregnant women had to be taken 58 miles in a taxi from her home at Fochabers to give birth in Aberdeen.
Mrs Watson added: “What’s making the situation even more difficult is that we are not hearing what progress is being made on restoring the services or even a reason why things are moving so slowly.
“We accept the situation can’t be resolved overnight but in the meantime all these women are facing the journey to Aberdeen.”