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Keep MUM welcomes £6.6m by Humza Yousaf for Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin ...

By Alistair Whitfield

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Keep MUM campaigner Kirsty Watson outside Dr Gray's in 2020. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Keep MUM campaigner Kirsty Watson outside Dr Gray's in 2020. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Campaigners have welcomed the £6.6million of funding to eventually re-establish a full maternity service at Dr Gray's – but are questioning how things will work in practice.

Humza Yousaf, the Health Secretary, announced the investment for the Elgin hospital on Friday.

The cash will be used to restore a consultant-led maternity service by 2026.

This, in turn, will allow most women to give birth there, rather than having to travel outwith Moray, as has been the case since 2018 when the service was downgraded due to a lack of consultants working in Elgin.

Keep MUM has been at the forefront of the fight to prevent Moray women from being forced to travel long and potentially dangerous distances when they are close to giving birth.

Kirsty Watson, a leading member of the campaign group, said: "The Scottish Government will initially invest £6.6 million in the maternity service, but it is our understanding that this sum of money will be required every year to run the service.

"Obviously, we welcome this investment, especially given NHS Grampian would not have been able to proceed without it. Recruitment of relevant staff can now begin.

"However, we have ongoing questions about how the collaborative approach between NHS Highland and NHS Grampian will work.

"Also, what actions are the Scottish government taking to support the health boards with workforce challenges? These challenges are nationwide but particularly so in the North of Scotland.

"For example, a positive action would be to re-establish the midwifery course at the University of Highlands and Islands in Inverness."

Related article: £6.6m pledged to restore full Dr Gray's maternity service by 2026

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