The Scottish Government has been urged to make the restoration of services to Moray’s biggest hospital “a priority” amid concerns about a second winter of journeys to Aberdeen and Inverness.
Women’s and children’s services at Dr Gray’s Hospital continue to be affected by a staffing shortage that has forced many mums-to-be to travel elsewhere to give birth.
NHS Grampian currently expects the Elgin unit to be restored to full strength in spring next year, but the Scottish Government’s health minister Jeane Freeman was urged yesterday to speed up the process.
Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said: “When Ms Freeman visited Moray all those months ago, she promised that action would be taken and we would have a firm plan for the restoration of these vital services.
“However, we are now approaching winter once again and local mums-to-be are faced with the daunting prospect of travelling all the way to Aberdeen – potentially in extreme weather – for care which should be available here in Elgin.
“It simply isn’t good enough and local people, already frustrated with the reduction in services and then the endless delays in restoring them, have run out of patience with the SNP’s broken promises.”
Yesterday, the Scottish Government stressed it “remained committed” to the restoration of services at Dr Gray’s.
A spokesman said: “Ms Freeman approved NHS Grampian’s phase two plan for the reintroduction of services, and is clear that patient safety is paramount and services are reintroduced in a safe and sustainable way.”