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.

Moray maternity improvement ‘not possible overnight’, says women’s health minister

Women's Health Minister Maree Todd.
Women's Health Minister Maree Todd.

Scotland’s women’s health minister says the return of a consultant-led maternity unit in Moray – which was downgraded four years ago – “is not possible overnight”.

SNP minister Maree Todd was responding to serious concerns about the lack of progress in restoring maternity care at Dr Gray’s in Elgin.

Local campaigners fear a tragedy is waiting to happen while most women continue to be sent to Aberdeen or Inverness instead.

They say their “patience is wearing thin” four years on – with at least two Moray women forced to give birth off the side of the A96 in the last six months.

Keep Mum's Kirsty Watson
Keep Mum’s Kirsty Watson, who campaigns for restored services in Elgin.

The Highlands politician is also facing pressure in her own Caithness area where women have to endure 200-mile roundtrips to Inverness to give birth.

Maternity and women’s health services at Caithness General Hospital were downgraded in 2016 on safety grounds, and there have been calls for an independent review.

In an interview with the Press and Journal, Ms Todd said she was “very aware” of the debate in her own constituency.

She admitted the challenges are experienced “all over rural Scotland” and said “there’s more work to be done”.

‘Not possible’ claim

Asked if action is being taken quick enough in Moray, Ms Todd said: “It’s not possible overnight to bring in a service here.

“One of the challenges in Moray, for example, as well as an obstetrics service, there needs to be other back-up services.

“I think initially the service fell down because of a lack of paediatric care. I think now there are challenges with physicians and anaesthetics so we have to be absolutely confident that all of the disciplines that are needed to deliver an obstetrics led service are there.”

A pregnant woman's torso next to a nurse.
Pregnant women in Moray have experienced anxiety around where they will give birth.

Kirsty Watson, from the Keep Mum campaign group in Moray, hit back saying she knows it’s not something to be fixed overnight.

She added: “The unit in Moray was downgraded four years ago and over that period there has been a considerable amount of talk and promises with very little clear planning or actions taken, which is disappointing.”

Ms Watson said: “Patience is wearing thin in Moray, while women and their families continue to experience anxiety and difficult pregnancies and birth stories.

“We require a deeper understanding on what is being done and why, before we can just silently accept ‘it won’t happen overnight’.”

The campaign group is pushing the government and NHS Grampian for answers on why the timescales are “so very long”, after they failed to rule out a 10-year wait.


Caithness services ‘gone backwards’

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone raised concerns at Westminster about the support offered from the Scottish and UK governments.

Jamie Stone MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.
Jamie Stone is MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.

He said services in his Caithness constituency have “gone backwards”.

He added: “Public services are at an all time low.

“Expectant mothers are having to make a treacherous journey to access the most basic of healthcare and they are being completely neglected by these distracted governments.”

Ron Gunn, chair of Caithness Health Action Team, said women face risks travelling so far.

“It’s all very well people saying they will look into it but we need action,” he said.

Moray maternity fears: ‘There could be a death of a mother or a baby – or both’

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]