Dr Gray’s Maternity Unit

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 15th June 2021.

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Photo of Douglas Ross Douglas Ross Conservative

I absolutely agree with Richard Lochhead. There are not many campaigns that unite us, but we were united on the Plainstones in Elgin three years ago when the announcement was first made. As the local MP, I have campaigned hard for the restoration of the service, as has Richard Lochhead, as the local MSP.

That shows that this is not a party-political issue. It was not a party-political issue years ago during the original campaign to have a consultant-led maternity unit. Margaret Ewing, who was the Scottish National Party MSP at the time, led the charge locally and worked with Michael Forsyth, who was the Conservative minister, to ensure that we had a consultant-led unit. We are all working again to restore the unit, because it is vital.

We have outstanding staff at Dr Gray’s. They want to help expectant mums. They will do that with the limited numbers of Moray mothers—fewer than 20 per cent—who give birth in Elgin at the moment, but many more Moray families should be able to experience that excellent care.

I hope that the cabinet secretary will give us an update on the independent review in his summing up, and that he will say how that will be outlined to the campaigners, NHS Grampian and others? Will key milestones be announced? Will there be timescales by which those milestones should be reached, to ensure that the service is restored? The review will also look at the progress that NHS Grampian has made to date in restoring consultant-led services in Elgin, following a request by the previous health secretary. If the review finds that no, or not enough, progress has been made, what action will be taken against NHS Grampian?

Expectant mums in Moray are worried about where they will deliver their children. I hope that the cabinet secretary and the Government will tell them tonight when there will once again be a consultant-led maternity unit at Dr Gray’s.