Campaigners seeking the return of full consultant-level maternity services at Dr Gray’s have been dealt a further blow, with ScotGov admitting that the national Best Start plan for maternity and neonatal care has been delayed by 2 years.
The previous plan was published in 2017, prior to the downgrade at Dr Gray’s, with updated plans due to be published every 5 years.
The revelation came in response to a written Parliamentary Question from Labour MSP Rhoda Grant, who represents Moray as part of the Highlands & Islands region, and has been campaigning for improved maternity services in Moray, Caithness and Inverness.
The question was answered on 1st March by the Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport, Maree Todd, who revealed that she agreed a two year extension last year as NHS Boards prioritised the response to Covid-19.
It is now expected that NHS Boards will implement all of the recommendations of the 2017 plan by mid-2024.
Maree Todd further goes on to say that: “the Scottish Government is working with Public Health Scotland on the overall evaluation of the Best Start approach.”
Rhoda Grant MSP said: “This is incredibly frustrating, and I refuse to believe that Covid-19 is wholly responsible for this delay.
“Maternity services in Highland and Moray are in dire need of attention and kicking this plan into the long grass will push services into further crisis in both Highland and Moray.
“I have been pressing the Cabinet Secretary for Health to come to Moray and Caithness to get the full picture of the maternity crisis locally and this is something I will continue to press for.”