Campaigners fighting for the full restoration of maternity and children’s services to Moray have given the recent recruitment boost a cautious welcome.
Last week, NHS Grampian revealed the recruitment of two locum paediatricians will mean less mums-to-be will have to travel to Aberdeen or Inverness to give birth due to the reintroduction of elective casareans.
However, the health authority has warned the service may have to be withdrawn again in February unless the recruitment situation improves.
Yesterday, campaign group Keep Mum welcomed the improvements as “good news” but pressed for further action to be taken quickly.
A spokeswoman said: “We are very concerned that NHS Grampian is committed to the restoration of a consultant-led service in the long-term. In the long-term is simply not good enough.
“There is no getting away from the fact that the safest option for Moray women is a consultant-led service at Dr Gray’s. The planning for that needs to be taking place now.”
A revised action plan has already been submitted to the Scottish Government by the NHS detailing proposals for how services will be restored to Moray.
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It is understood the first stage of the vision involved an independent team visiting the Elgin hospital last month.
Sue Swift, divisional manager for women and children’s services at Dr Gray’s, said “encouraging progress” was being made with the action plan and hoped it could be published fully “shortly”.
She added: “We appreciate this isn’t going to solve all of the issues we face and we remain committed to the restoration of a consultant-led service in the long term.
“We continue to work unwaveringly towards that but, as we’ve always said, it won’t happen overnight given the complexity of the staffing issues we face at the hospital.”
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, will visit Moray this week in order to learn more about progress being made to improve services.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The health secretary will visit Elgin this week. She will carry out a number of engagements with NHS Grampian and local groups who have been campaigning about maternity services at Dr Gray’s.”