Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News



Moray MSP says NHS Grampian’s handling of children’s ward issues was ‘crass and insensitive’

Richard Lochhead MSP has met with Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to discuss ongoing concerns about NHS Grampian’s handling of the situation with women and children’s services at Dr Gray’s in Elgin.

Commenting Mr Lochhead said:

“This week I met the Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to discuss the future of women and children’s services at Dr Gray’s.

“I explained that patience is running out with NHS Grampian’s Aberdeen based management and confidence in their willingness to do everything possible to restore a consultant led maternity service is depleting fast. The fact that the Health Secretary has had to intervene to have the health board’s plan strengthened and improved speaks volumes. Meanwhile, morale is low in certain departments within Dr Gray’s and the nurses, doctors and midwives are doing the utmost to serve Moray and they deserve the utmost praise given the circumstances.

“Just when we thought that management were beginning to improve relationships,  the management drafted in from Aberdeen dismantled and discarded the wonderful children’s ward that had benefited from charitable fundraising. Their handling of this was crass and insensitive. If the move of the children’s ward was temporary why ensure there is no ward to move back into? Is it any wonder that everyone I speak to at the hospital and in the community questions NHS Grampian’s long term commitment to a fully restored women and children’s services?

“NHS Grampian can prove us all wrong by pulling out all the stops and by adopting a can do attitude. Our local doctors and managers must be empowered to take decisions and quickly. And that doesn’t mean bringing in managers from Aberdeen and calling this local decision making. It means giving more say to the consultants, doctors, nurses and midwives in Dr Gray’s on how the service is restored and the challenges dealt with.

“I asked the Health Secretary to work with NHS Grampian to find locum cover to plug the gap left by the lack of trainee doctors on the rotas whilst the long term plan for less reliance on such doctors is implemented. NHS Grampian seem reluctant to employ locum doctors to support the maternity unit saying they want a more stable service in the long term but we can’t wait two years for that to happen. I also asked for measures to improve the relationship between Dr Gray’s and NHS Grampian’s HQ in Aberdeen and to restore the public’s faith in the management.

“If we do not have more measures put in place and urgently it will be difficult to retain and recruit staff to the women and children’s services at Dr Gray’s and then the problems we have now will be compounded and the future of the service really will be in doubt. There have been some steps forward but we need more bigger steps forward and quickly.”