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DOUGLAS ROSS: Westminster Diary – 'I will fight to restore full consultant-led maternity service to Moray'

By Douglas Ross

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As you read this, schools across Moray will have broken up for the summer holidays and classes will have been completed for another term.

Douglas Ross and wife Krystle with son Alistair.Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Douglas Ross and wife Krystle with son Alistair.Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Given the challenges of the last two years for our pupils, parents and teachers during the pandemic, it has been welcome to see our young people in Moray back in the classrooms, where they learn best.

Our teachers and everyone involved in our education system in Moray have gone above and beyond during the Covid crisis to ensure our pupils have still received the highest standards of education.

It has been a wee while now since I was at school but I know Moray’s pupils and schools continue to punch well above their weight and that is down to our incredibly hard-working teachers, staff and most importantly the young people themselves.

I am not quite on my own holiday yet as the UK Parliament continues to sit for another few weeks where I will continue to raise issues on behalf of Moray constituents.

But it is not all work, and it was fantastic to be back at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh last week for the first in-person show for three years.

It is the highlight of the agricultural calendar and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how well Moray was represented across the show, from our wonderful food and drink producers, to those participating and judging in competitions.

Moray has a long and proud historic connection with the Royal Highland Show and I relished having the opportunity to have many in-person catch-ups and positive discussions with those who had made the journey down to the Ingliston showground.

As someone who grew up working on a farm, and went to agricultural college, farming is extremely close to my heart and I will always be a strong voice for their interests.

I look forward to returning next year to an even bigger and better Royal Highland Show.

Regular readers will know that I am continuing to fight at every turn for the full return of maternity services at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin.

As you read this NHS Grampian will have published their timetable for moving to the model four of delivery.

I have been incredibly frustrated and disappointed at how long the health board have taken to deliver this and have continued to leave expectant mothers in the dark.

Krystle and I celebrated our second son James’s first birthday this week, but I could not help but use his birthday to think of the hugely traumatic journey undertaken to bring him into the world. Following Krystle along the A96 as she was in labour, thinking she could give birth in a lay-by at any moment.

My family’s experience is one that has been shared by others and it must end. In the last six months two Moray mums have given birth at the roadside. It is completely unacceptable and has to stop.

I had hoped to bring this debate to the Scottish Parliament before it closed yesterday for the long summer recess but my pleas to SNP Health Secretary Humza Yousaf fell on deaf ears. Expectant Moray mothers have now been left in limbo over the summer on what the Health Secretary has to say on the future of Dr Gray’s.

Rest assured, I will keep fighting even as Holyrood is in recess to get our vital consultant-led maternity services back in Moray.

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