Highlands and Islands MSP, Edward Mountain today sought guarantees concerning safety, additional funding and extra staffing from the Scottish Government about their plans to ensure more Moray Mums deliver births at Raigmore Hospital.
This comes after the Highlands and Islands MSP also raised concerns with the proposals with Pam Dudek, Chief Executive of NHS Highland, and Boyd Peters, Medical Director of NHS Highland, on Thursday 20 October 2022.
Edward Mountain MSP continues to have doubts about the viability of the Scottish Government’s proposal to provide Moray Mums with the choice of maternity care in Inverness, known as Model 4.
Edward Mountain MSP has said that he will not support Moray Mums coming to Raigmore in non-emergency situations unless the required additional staffing, extra funding and facility upgrades are put in place before the Scottish Government approves the Model 4 option for maternity care.
In today’s statement, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care reiterated the Scottish Government’s preference in principle for delivering Model 4, which is linked primarily to Raigmore, before transitioning to Model 6, which will see the return of a full Consultant-led Maternity Unit at Dr Gray’s as a yet unspecified date.
During the Ministerial Statement in Holyrood today, Edward Mountain MSP asked:
“I have met twice with the maternity team at Raigmore and I have listened to them, I actually really listened to them, Cabinet Secretary. They are still worried about the safety of mothers and babies. Cabinet Secretary, the £5m promised to Raigmore will rectify some of the 15 years of underinvestment. But it won’t even buy one extra bed space. The costs for providing extra beds and additional staffing to provide for Moray mums might be double that or even more. Will the Scottish Government guarantee to provide whatever funds are required and get staff in place before, and I mean before Cabinet Secretary, approving a move to option 4.”
The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care responded:
“What I would say is if Edward Mountain had read the NHS Highland draft business plan, he would have seen there an important and crucial line, that says ‘it is understood that further investment will be required for and alongside maternity unit or an Inverness based community midwifery unit, which will require additional capital investment along with revenue which will be needed to be encompassed within our current capital allocation.’ So of course we will continue to work with NHS Highland around the revenue and capital that is required, but that has been acknowledged already if Mr Mountain goes back and looks at the draft business plan.”
Following the statement, Edward Mountain MSP commented:
“The Health Secretary should refrain from being so patronising and begin addressing the serious concerns laid out by clinicians in the Raigmore Maternity Unit.
“It is clear from their letter today that they have grave concerns about the safety of delivering maternity care without the required additional staffing, extra funding and facility upgrades being in place before Model 4 is approved.
“And while the Health Secretary might acknowledge those concerns he was still unable to provide any guarantees today about funding and recruitment support – that’s simply not good enough.”