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NHS Grampian urged to review Moray maternity services after A96 is closed due to snow

Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin.
Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin.

NHS Grampian has been urged to review maternity services in Moray after the A96 Aberdeen road was closed amid bad weather at the weekend.

Most expectant mothers from the region are currently giving birth in the Granite City due to a temporary downgrade at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin.

The move has led to families making the journey by road themselves for nearly three years.

However, bad weather at the weekend forced the A96 among other routes to be closed, making the trip from Moray to maternity services in Aberdeen impossible.

NHS Grampian urged anxious expectant parents to contact their midwives during the weekend to make arrangements.

Kirsty Watson, spokeswoman for campaign group Keep Mum, said: “The weather was bad all week and was critical at the weekend.

“We have warned of this situation in the past, there needs to be a contingency plan.”

Closure of A96 due to snow is ‘vindication’ of Moray maternity concerns

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead heard from several women over the weekend expressing fears about making the journey to Aberdeen for maternity services after the A96 was closed.

He said: “The severe weather and snow drifts that led to the closure of the A96 was another vindication of the concerns expressed by the community in relation to the need for the urgent restoration of a consultant led maternity service at Dr Gray’s.

Dr Gray’s Hospital: Refurbishment of maternity ward to begin

“The thought of being asked to travel to Aberdeen in such conditions fills many local pregnant women with horror and who can blame them.”

Moray MP Douglas Ross has called on the Scottish Government to “urgently review” the situation.

He said: “The winter months can be particularly treacherous – as we saw this weekend with the road completely impassable due to snowdrifts.

“This could compromise the safety of pregnant women who have already been identified as being at risk of complications.”

General manager for NHS Grampian’s Dr Gray’s Hospital, Alasdair Pattinson, said: “We kept close observation on the weather changes over the weekend. There were no urgent transfers planned or needed for obstetrics over those days. Our midwifery teams were proactively in contact with expectant Moray mothers directly and that should the need have arisen for transfers of emergency cases between Dr Gray’s and Raigmore, that would have been facilitated.

“As with all of our services at Dr Gray’s, when required, the plan for patients is always considered on a case by cases basis depending on clinical need, circumstance and of course, safety.

“The inclement weather affects our communities across the length and breadth of Grampian and that is a challenge we always face in the winter months with our rural spread. We always work together with our local partners such as councils, H&SCPs, Police Scotland, SAS and of course other Boards in these situations, to find solutions to emerging issues.

“The safety of our patients and our staff is paramount.”

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