Jamie questions First Minister over Moray maternity services

MSP highlights expectant mum’s 300 mile round trip

Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has urged the First Minister to intervene to ensure downgraded maternity services at Elgin’s Dr Gray’s Hospital are restored as a matter of urgency.

The Scottish Conservative MSP’s call comes only days after it was reported that an expectant mother from Moray was forced to travel to Fife because there was no space available in closer hospitals in Aberdeen and Inverness. 

With Moray experiencing winter weather last week, including significant snowfall, Mr Halcro Johnston said Nicola Sturgeon must now instruct the Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to prioritise the restoration of local maternity services and reduce the risk of long journeys on dangerous roads.

Speaking later, the Scottish Conservative MSP said “Despite all the previous promises from Jeane Freeman, and assurances that the Scottish Government were acting to get this ongoing issue resolved, expectant mothers in Moray are still being forced to make long journeys in the depths of winter.

“In the most recent case, it’s reported that this involved a 300 mile round trip all the way to Kirkcaldy because there simply wasn’t capacity in either hospitals in Aberdeen or Inverness, both of which would still have required a considerable journey.

“It is completely unacceptable that people in Moray are still being treated like second-class citizens when it comes to the provision of maternity care. It is causing real concern for families with expectants mums across Moray, as well as amongst those who are hoping to start a family in the future.

“NHS Grampian remains Scotland’s worst funded health board, and their Chief Executive Amanda Croft was appointed only 9 months ago by Jeane Freeman herself. If the problem is with the person at the top – as some have understandably argued - then that person is Jeane Freeman.

“The Scottish Government has had 12 years to get this right but have demonstrably failed to get on top of the problem. So now is not the time for more empty promises from the Scottish Government. We need to see action.

“That’s why Nicola Sturgeon must intervene and instruct Jeane Freeman to take some responsibility for the problems in Moray, make resolving them a priority and tell us plainly when – and indeed, whether - she will deliver on her Government’s pledge to restore the full maternity service to Dr Gray’s.”