Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘Cautious optimism’: Moray maternity campaigners welcome Dr Gray’s commitment but concerns remain

Keep Mum campaigner Kirsty Watson outside Dr Gray's Hospital.
Keep Mum campaigner Kirsty Watson outside Dr Gray's Hospital. Photo: Jasperimage

Campaigners fighting for the full restoration of maternity services to Moray have welcomed the Scottish Government announcement with “cautious optimism” – but still have questions.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has confirmed the ambition is for consultant-led services to be brought back to Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin.

The unit was downgraded in summer 2018 due to a staff shortage with families facing trips to Aberdeen and Inverness for births instead.

‘Difficult route back for Dr Gray’s’

Campaigners Keep Mum have welcomed the commitment to restore all services to Dr Gray’s while recognising it will be a “difficult route back”.

However, concerns have been raised about when Moray families can expect to see a reintroduction of services.

In the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, Mr Yousaf explained he was unable to say when.

He said: “The reason why I can’t give you the date right now is because frankly if we did that now we’d be plucking it out of the air.”

Keep Mum campaigners Kirsty Watson and Marj Adams (right) spoke to the health secretary in Elgin. Picture by Jasperimage

Keep Mum met with the minister after the statement in parliament and said they still had “pressing questions” after the talks.

Among them included timescales for the restoration of services, what support is required at Dr Gray’s and what the interim service will look like.

Group spokeswoman Kirsty Watson said: “It will be a difficult route back but we are glad that it is beginning.

“The return of a consultant-led service will benefit thousands of families who currently have to endure a service which is risky, causes huge amounts of uncertainty and mental agony.

“Cautious optimism probably sums up our response, but we know that there is a long way to go.  This campaign will continue – we appreciate all the support from across the community.”

£10million investment to begin process

To kick-start the process of restoring services, Mr Yousaf confirmed £10million of investment – adding he understood the “urgency and importance” of the issue.

Half of the money will be used to develop services in Elgin while the other half will be used to improve facilities in Inverness following calls from campaigners in the north.

Consultant obstetricians and senior midwives say Raigmore does not have the facilities or the staff to deal with extra births from Moray and requires new investment.

The minister stressed the fix “won’t happen overnight” – but stressed the ambition was for 80 to 90% of expectant Moray mums to give birth at Dr Gray’s.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf. Photo: PA

He said: ““I am in no doubt about the scale of the challenges in delivering this, but I know we can deliver these changes over time and bring much needed stability to health services across the north east of Scotland.”

John Tomlinson, interim chairman of NHS Grampian said: “We thank Mr Yousaf for the clarity provided today, which sets the future direction for maternity services in Moray, Grampian and the north of Scotland more broadly, and the announcement of additional investment in Dr Gray’s Hospital.

“We will work in partnership with the Scottish Government, NHS Highland, our staff, and the communities that we serve to make progress with these recommendations on a phased basis.

“Our priority remains the delivery of safe and sustainable maternity services and we share the health secretary’s commitment to ensuring expectant mothers receive the best possible care.”

TIMELINE: Key dates in the campaign to restore maternity services at Dr Gray’s in Elgin

Already a subscriber? Sign in