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Calls made for Grampian mother and baby unit as Scottish Government "considering response"

By David Porter

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The Scottish Government has been urged to bring forward plans for a north-east mother and baby unit (MBU) 18 months after public support was established.

There are no Mother and Baby Units outside the Central Belt at present.
There are no Mother and Baby Units outside the Central Belt at present.

At Holyrood yesterdat SNP minister Maree Todd gave a statement on delivery plans for the government’s Mental Health & Wellbeing strategy, published in June.

The strategy recognises “childbirth is also associated with an increased risk of mental ill health in mothers.”

But a long-term criticism of the government’s perinatal mental health delivery is that there is no specialist MBU outside the Central belt, and there are only 12 beds.

North East region MSP Tess White asked Mrs Todd when the government will publish its intentions to act on last year’s consultation about options to increase MBU capacity.

This finished in May last year and a majority of responses (118 of 220) were from the Grampian region, with the next highest cohort being 33 in the Highlands.

A majority backed an Aberdeen site to complement Glasgow and Livingston.

Scottish Conservative Ms White said: “It’s good to see the strategy recognises the importance of the perinatal period for mothers but does little to deliver.

“Last year, a consultation on extending mother and baby unit provision found most respondents want another unit outside the central belt, many of them being in the Grampian health board area.

“And after requesting an update on progress, yesterday I was told that a report will be published once the ‘options have been fully considered and next steps determined.’

“Will the Minister finally listen to women and tell them when that will be?”

Mrs Todd responded that she had read the options appraisal “are considering our response” to it.

“I am more than happy to update parliament and certainly to update stakeholders of what that options appraisal recommends, once we have made plans in how to respond to it.

"I do not want to come to the public with the options appraisal until I can set out what the next steps are."

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