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MSP welcomes Dr Gray's maternity services pledge


By Alan Beresford

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MOVES to return consultant-led maternity services to Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin has been welcomed by a local MSP.

Consultant-led maternity services are set to return to Dr Gray's Hospital.
Consultant-led maternity services are set to return to Dr Gray's Hospital.

The move was confirmed by Health Secretary Humza Yousaf during a recent visit to the hospital.

He was responding to an independent review of the services provided at Dr Gray's, commissioned last year to expand the care provided locally and reduce travel times for expectant parents.

Once in place, it is expected that 80-90 per cent of Moray births will take place at the hospital over a period of time on a phased basis, with delivery of as much antenatal and postnatal care as possible in Dr Gray’s in the short term, reducing the need to travel for appointments.

As services are expanded towards a consultant-led service at Dr Gray's, in the interim Raigmore maternity unit will be expanded to allow Moray women to choose to access care in labour and birth there, in addition to Aberdeen Maternity Unit.

The Health Secretary also confirmed £10 million of investment to deliver this, which includes £5 million to start the development of services at Dr Gray’s and a further £5 million to improve facilities at Raigmore Hospital.

Welcoming the announcement, Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam said: “Firstly, I want to commend the campaign groups for their hard work over many years who have kept the need for a return to consultant led maternity services high profile.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam.
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam.

"They have ensured the voices of Moray mums have been heard. As somebody who has had high risk pregnancies, I am fully aware of the anxieties which mothers can experience even if it’s in the best of circumstances, for too long this situation has added unnecessary stress at an already vulnerable time.

"I am delighted that we can now move ahead as soon as possible to deliver these services.”

However, with no timescale as yet put in place Moray Conservative MP and Highlands and Islands MSP voiced concerns at Holyrood.

Moray MP and Highlands and Islands MSP Douglas Ross. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Moray MP and Highlands and Islands MSP Douglas Ross. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Speaking in parliament, Mr Ross said: “My fear is that we are still a long way off that restoration.

“We’ve got no timescales, no milestones. Will it even be within this parliament? Can we get a date, a month, a year?”

Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf during his recent visit to Elgin. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf during his recent visit to Elgin. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Mr Yousaf replied: “I can’t give you a date.

"If I did that I would be quite frankly picking it out of the air.

“However I have given you the destination. The question now is what will it take to get Dr Gray’s that full consultant-led maternity service.”

Mr Yousaf promised to keep Mr Ross and parliament updated on those timescales.

“We will not shirk away from our responsibilities regarding the investment required,” he added.


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