Scotland’s new health secretary Humza Yousaf has been invited to Moray to discuss restoring maternity services in the region.
Dr Gray’s in Elgin, which is the region’s flagship hospital, has been without a consultant-led maternity unit since summer 2018.
All medium and high-risk births must now take place in Aberdeen or Inverness, which means a significant journey for pregnant mums.
A campaign, headed up by Keep Mum, has been on the go since then to restore the service since it was axed due to a staff shortage.
Now, Moray MSP Richard Lochhead has written to Mr Yousaf to request a meeting to discuss local health services and has invited him to visit Dr Gray’s as soon as possible once Ministerial visits recommence.
The Scottish Government has committed to the restoration of the maternity service and has commissioned an independent review to look at how NHS Grampian can safely reintroduce a consultant-led service at the hospital.
Previous health secretary Jeane Freeman visited Dr Gray’s a few times and promised action to restore the service.
Discussion with the health secretary
Mr Lochhead would like to discuss some of the challenges the health board has experienced in recruiting doctors and consultants to work in the area.
The Moray MSP said: “I welcome Humza Yousaf to his new role and know that his complete focus right now must be to steer our health service through the pandemic.
“As we look towards recovery, I’m looking forward to working with him to ensure that people in Moray have access to the health services they need and as close to home as possible.
“The temporary changes to our local maternity unit continue to cause a great deal of concern locally and the strength of feeling is clearly seen by the way the community has rallied behind the Keep Mum campaign. As local MSP I’ve worked hard to support Keep Mum and will continue to do so.
“The Scottish Government remains committed to the reintroduction of a consultant-led service and I hope that the independent review, commissioned by Scottish Ministers and that is now underway, can lead to some progress for women and families in Moray.
“These issues are all vital for the future of Moray and our local communities and I’m keen to meet with the health secretary as soon as possible, and also to welcome him to Dr Gray’s in due course.”