Caithness Convener Joins Call For Maternity Upgrading
4th September 2003
The Convener of The Highland Council's Caithness Area Committee, Councillor David Flear, has joined the call for health bosses to consider upgrading maternity services at Caithness General Hospital.
Councillor Flear intends raising the matter at the next Area Committee meeting on Monday 15 September and expects to send a firmly worded response to the Highland Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, who are currently reviewing maternity services provided in Wick as part of a Scotland-wide review.
The Area Committee will also seek a meeting with Professor Andrew Calder, the man leading the review on behalf of the Executive, who is visiting Caithness later this month.
Councillor Flear has been advised that the Trust are looking at an option to maintain the status quo at the 11-bed unit or to downgrade the service with consultant services moving to Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.
He believes that an option of upgrading the service to reduce risk should be added. It is one he believes will have significant support in the local community.
The matter surfaced on Tuesday at a meeting of the Trust in Wick, when The Highland Council Convener Councillor Alison Magee, who is a board member, expressed her concern that the matter had been raised at the meeting without prior notification and that there was no option for expanding services.
Councillor Flear said: "I am grateful to the Convener for highlighting this matter. Like her, I had not idea that the review of maternity services was going to be raised at this meeting. I agree entirely that the public must be fully involved in this review process. The process must be open and transparent. And the options being considered should not omit an investment in local services by providing more beds.
"I will be raising the matter at our next area committee meeting and will be ensuring that our voice is heard when Professor Calder comes north later this month.
"It is only two years since the last review of maternity services at Caithness General Hospital and the arguments that were presented for retaining and developing the unit are as valid today as they were then. I have no doubt that this is a matter that will race to the top of the political agenda and one which will generate a huge amount of community interest in the county."
7:00am, 8:00am, 9:00am - possibly throughout the day George Bruce Interviews on Moray Firth Radio News 12:00 Noon Demonstration Begins At Caithness General Hospital 12:01pm Toot Your Horn Campaign Begins Motorist are being asked to toot their horns as they pass the demonstration at Caithness General 12:05pm Professor Calder Team Arrives Wick Airport 12:15pm Press Conference At Wick Airport 12:40pm Professor Calder Team Arrival Expected Caithness General 1:00pm Council Press Conference At Wick Town Hall Area Convenor David Flear will lead the press conference with Jenny Spence, League of Friends, Jamie Stone MSP. George Bruce, Caithness & North Sutherland Health Forum and two mothers.
The visit of Professor Andrew Calder to Wick on Monday 15 December had a big profile as it gained mentions on Moray Firth Radio, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Scotland Television News. Repeat mentions on several news broadcasts are ensuring the issue is highlighted.
Tune in to Moray Firth Radio to hear George Bruce chairman of the Caithness & North Sutherland Health Forum being interviewed about the current Maternity Review to coincide with Professor Calder's visit to Caithness General Hospital. Listen on radio or on the web by going to Moray Firth Radio web site and click on Listen.
A variety of groups that involve young mothers is likely to arrive with pushchairs and prams on Monday. Several groups from around Caithness intend to be represented at the Noon Demonstration with several intending to attend both the noon and 6:00pm demos.
As local feeling continues to rise on the Maternity Services issue in Caithness confirmation has been given that a second demonstration will take place at 6:00pm at Caithness General Hospital on Monday 15th. The first demo will happen to coincide with the arrival of Professor Calder and his team as part of the review.
Posters in Caithness supporting the demonstrations at Caithness General Hospital on Monday 15 December have turned a current Television advertising campaign for flights from Inverness airport on its head. Whilst the TV ad shows how great it is that you can now fly to many places from Inverness the posters bring home the point that few in the north want the same service for delivering babies up to 130 miles away..
Caithness Area Convenor David Flear is receiving the biggest correspondence he has ever received on any topic by a huge margin. Mail is arriving every day by post and email is constantly popping in to add weight to his arguments.
Caithness Convenor David Flear will lead a Highland Council Press Conference at Wick Town Hall on Monday 15th at 1:00pm time in the Wick Town Hall. Councillor Flear will chair the briefing.
Professor Calder is to hold a short press conference at Wick Airport shortly after he arrives. With interest in the visit now coming under intense scrutiny he is likely to face a barrage of questions from reporters.
Wick is likely to be somewhat noisier than usual from 12 Noon as a "Toot Your horn " campaign is gets underway for drivers passing the demo on Monday 15 December. Drivers are being asked to toot their support as they drive past the demo taking place outside the Caithness General Hospital..
[Printer Friendly Version]