Long way to go for maternity services

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NHS Grampian bosses believe they are making progress, albeit slowly, with their plans to restore full maternity and children services at Dr Gray’s, it emerged at a public meeting held in Elgin on Monday night.

However, posting on their Facebook page, the local campaign group Keep MUM (Maternity Unit in Moray) commented: “We need to be clear that: Without the intervention of Jeane Freeman [Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport at Scottish Government] in August 2018 and ongoing pressure from the local community, there would be NO PLAN to have a PLAN.

“Currently, there is NO PLAN. That will be discussed and written up over the next 10 weeks. We have no hard evidence that the Aberdeen obstetricians will support the development of and delivery of the plan.

“Until the unit has reopened as a full obstetric and paediatric consultant unit, this situation remains extremely concerning.”

Moray MP Douglas Ross, has cautiously welcomed the progress report given by NHS Grampian.

Commenting after attending the meeting in St Giles Church on Monday evening, Douglas said: “It was helpful to get an update from senior managers on what has been done so far and their plans going forward to help restore a full service.  Clearly progress has been made, but from the questions during the evening, more still has to be done and that was acknowledged by all present.

“I was pleased at the willingness of the NHS Grampian representatives to answer questions and acknowledge the fears that patients and staff still have. There are still serious concerns about women and families having to travel through to Aberdeen to give birth and as we enter another cold snap, these fears increase.

“There was also an agreement to improve communications and importantly provide more opportunities for feedback about paediatric care and services in Moray which have not been as good as they should have been.  The staff at Dr Gray’s do an outstanding job under very trying conditions and the support for their efforts at the meeting was clear, I echo that wholeheartedly, but we need to have a service that delivers for local patients which will in turn prove positive for the staff as well.

“Pam Gowans, chair of the Moray Integrated Joint Board summed up at the end of last night’s meeting by saying ‘There is still a long way to go’. I agree with that sentiment. There are still a lot of concerns which need to be addressed and a long way to go before we have a consultant-led service back at Dr Gray’s but I welcome the willingness to make that happen.”