Douglas Ross has criticised the long-awaited plans to restore consultant-led maternity services in Moray, saying they “simply do not go far enough”
The Moray MP challenged the proposals from SNP Health Secretary Humza Yousaf in the Scottish Parliament.
He criticised the failure of Humza Yousaf to commit to a timescale to fully restore maternity services at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, and also raised concerns over the interim plans for expectant mothers to endure a lengthy journey to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness or Aberdeen to give birth.
Douglas also said that the statement from the Health Secretary failed to recognise that consultant-led maternity services have not been available in Moray for four years and says serious questions must be answered over why NHS Grampian have neglected Dr Gray’s for so long.
Furthermore, he also used his response to movingly talk about the health issues suffered by his newborn son James last year and queried if this was due to the fact he wasn’t able to be born at Dr Gray’s and instead had to return from Aberdeen along the A96 when just a few hours old.
He also praised local campaign groups Keep MUM and Moray and Banff Maternity Voices Partnership and said he will continue to fight alongside them to ensure they are kept updated every step of the way about when full-scale maternity services will once again be available in Elgin.
Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “Expectant mothers in Moray were told that the downgrading of maternity services at Dr Gray’s would only be temporary, yet they still haven’t been restored four years on.
“Despite the tireless efforts from local campaigners, the proposals from Humza Yousaf simply do not go far enough, quickly enough. He failed to provide any details as to when consultant-led service will be restored at Dr Gray’s.
“There are serious questions to answer as to why the health board have neglected Dr Gray’s and the communities in Moray for so long and why that looks set to continue.
“Continuing to have pregnant women make the journey to Raigmore or Aberdeen simply isn’t safe. I know from my own experience that travelling along the A96 to Aberdeen was horrendous and something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
“I often wonder if our son James’s breathing difficulties shortly after being born were as a result of having to make that journey back to Moray when he so young.
“It feels like we are still some way off the majority of Moray mothers having the guarantee of giving birth in Elgin, which is hugely disappointing.
“I will continue to hold Humza Yousaf and the SNP Government to their promise of ensuring the Moray community is kept updated every step of the way, as right now I have deep concerns over the lack of timescales and milestones that have been laid out.”