Return to consultant-led obstetric unit.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has confirmed that Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin will implement a return to consultant-led maternity services.
Mr Yousaf was responding to an Independent Review of the services provided at the hospital, commissioned last year to expand the care provided locally and reduce travel times for expectant parents.
He confirmed a move to a full consultant-led maternity unit at Dr Gray’s, which will see 80 to 90% of Moray births taking place at the hospital over a period of time on a phased basis, with delivery of as much antenatal and postnatal care as possible in Dr Gray’s in the short term, reducing the need to travel for appointments.
As services are expanded towards a consultant-led service at Dr Grays, in the interim Raigmore maternity unit will be expanded to allow Moray women to choose to access care in labour and birth there, in addition to Aberdeen Maternity Unit.
The Health Secretary also confirmed £10 million of investment to deliver this, which includes £5 million to start the development of services at Dr Gray’s and a further £5 million to improve facilities at Raigmore Hospital.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Yousaf said:
“Safe maternity care as close to home as practicable is vital and I’ve heard directly from those most affected, namely local people and the clinicians working in both Dr Gray’s and Raigmore hospitals before making this decision.
“This new £10 million of investment in maternity services I’ve set out today will help create a consultant-led Maternity Unit at Dr Gray’s, with a Community Maternity Unit, supported by consultant-led care from Raigmore in the interim. I hope this will see 80 to 90% of Moray births taking place at Dr Gray's when arrangements are completed.
“I am in no doubt about the scale of the challenges in delivering this, but I know we can deliver these changes over time and bring much needed stability to health services across the north east of Scotland.”
Dr Gray’s maternity unit was changed from a consultant obstetric unit to a midwife led unit on a temporary basis in 2018 with births in the unit reducing from around 1000 to 150. NHS Borders CEO Ralph Roberts was asked in March 2021 to review services and how obstetric maternity services can be safely and sustainably returned to Dr Gray’s Hospital.
The Independent Review Team identified six possible models of maternity care in Dr Gray’s and the report had 37 recommendations, including a short and medium term option.
The Health Secretary confirmed there will be an external assurance process built around the development of services which will include expert clinical input.
The timescale for the development is expected by the end of 2022 with milestones for delivery of both the Community Maternity Unit and consultant-led services.
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