MSP says minister must deliver on Dr Gray’s promises

Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has said that Health minister Jeane Freeman must deliver on her pledge to fully restore maternity and other services to Dr Gray’s Hospital.

The Scottish Conservative MSP spoke out after reports suggested that NHS Grampian were concerned about costs and fears were expressed that workforce supply and recruitment difficulties could make the current staffing situation even worse.

Mr Halcro Johnston said: “Just last month Jeane Freeman gave her approval to NHS Grampian’s plan to fully restore maternity services in Dr Gray’s by early 2020. She said nothing to suggest that the costs of implementation were a concern or that there was any threat to the timetable for restoring the service.

“And now we seem to have credible reports that there is doubt about whether her promises will be met.”

Mr Halcro Johnston, who hosted a visit to Dr Gray’s by Shadow Health Minister Miles Briggs, in April, said: “I know from my meetings with staff at Dr Gray’s that there is no lack of will to restore the services at the hospital.

“However we have to recognize that NHS Grampian continues to be the worst-funded health authority in Scotland, and that Jeane Freeman and her predecessors in the Scottish Government have failed to make proper provision for workforce planning for the NHS, hence the shortage of suitably qualified staff.

“It is imperative that the minister gets a grip on this issue and that we don’t find the majority of mums-to-be in Moray having to continue to travel to Aberdeen to give birth.”