Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has grilled the Scottish Government in the Chamber on Caithness Maternity Services saying that “Caithness women are being left behind.”
This comes after the news that NHS Dumfries and Galloway have appointed two independent chairs to undertake a review of maternity services in the region with public consultation set to begin in March.
In General Questions today the Regional MSP branded the current situation in Caithness as “unacceptable” and urged the Scottish Government to admit that centralisation of maternity services was a mistake.
In General Questions she said:
“Concerns around maternity services in Caithness have been ongoing since 2016 when obstetric support was removed.
“Women have to travel over 100 miles to give birth – that is like asking women in Edinburgh to go to Newcastle.
“That is unacceptable.”
The Cabinet Secretary for Health said that maternity services were downgraded following safety concerns.
He also outlined the Best Start North Review, which is a joint review commissioned by NHS Highland, NHS Grampian and the three island Health Boards, was paused during the covid pandemic but has recently started up again.
Speaking after General Questions Mrs Grant said:
“It is infuriating that Caithness women are expected to travel these distances in labour to receive suitable care – especially as the roads are inadequate and in difficult weather conditions can be dangerous.
“Moray and now Dumfries and Galloway have seen Maternity reviews undertaken.
“If the status quo is unacceptable in those regions, it does not make any sense whatsoever that Caithness is seeing no movement on this issue.
“Caithness women are being left behind and I am urging the Scottish Government to rectify this urgently.”