Timetable target for restoring services seen as ‘growing challenge’
NHS Grampian said meeting its target of restoring maternity services to Moray’s biggest hospital by April is a “growing challenge”.
An update from management has revealed that the latest April 2020 estimate for the return of maternity services is increasingly unrealistic.
Last night campaigners described the revelation as “alarming”, and called on the Scottish Government to intervene.
Reports for today’s NHS Grampian board meeting highlighted concerns about a sustainable model for the anaesthetic service as a stumbling block.
Marj Adams, a member of campaign group Keep Mum, said: “This progress update doesn’t, in any way, acknowledge the current risky situation that women are still facing – and which causes emotional distress.
“It is not clear where NHS Grampian is at in restoring the consultantled service. Neither does it mention timescales...”
The NHS has warned that restoring Dr Gray’s to full strength will involve a range of services at the Elgin unit being redesigned and better staffed.
Reports produced for today’s board meeting explain that implementing a consultant-led maternity service “would demand a significant increase” in the work from anaesthetics.
It adds: “This risk is being mitigated by providing planning capacity to develop a clinically-led and detailed work programme to establish potential sustainable solutions for anaesthetics in Dr Gray’s Hospital, with cross-system benefits.
“This work will involve many stakeholders and relates to regulatory and educational frameworks. As such it is unlikely to be delivered at pace.”
Meanwhile, NHS Grampian has stressed that children’s services remain on track to be restored with a new model in April.
Recruitment to the new posts is under way, with the NHS expecting appointments to be made in February.