Public Anxiety Over Highland Maternity Services Review
26th September 2000
The public anxiety surrounding the effects of the review of maternity services in Highland have given us the impetus to make information on the issue easily available. If anyone would like to forward information for inclusion in this section please get in touch with us at 01955 604648 or email email@example.com .
Following a review nearly three years ago fears were allayed about possible down grading of the services at the Caithness General Hospital. The matter is again to be looked at and the maternity services review committee will start its work shortly. The committee is to be chaired by Monica Mouat from Highland Health Council.
There is a feeling from the Health side that the public disquiet is somewhat premature as the committee has not even started its work. However there is considerable local fear that the current financial problems of the NHS trusts may have some bearing on the eventual outcome.
A local committee to fight closure (which is not suggested as an option) or down grading to midwife only service, has been formed and is led by local councillors. There has been a series of stories running in the local and other Highland papers. The John O'Groat journal devoted its whole front page to the matter last week. Letters from members of the public expressing their fears about the long journey to Inverness (100 - 140 miles) 3 to 4 hours by road. Also letters from mothers who have experienced problems with childbirth and the possible consequences if expert medical treatment had not been available locally. This issue is growing in the public mind and is a wide spread topic of discussion in many quarters. A petition has been in shops and offices for the last two weeks. The committee were out on the streets of Caithness getting signatures on Saturday.
The Caithness Courier again has it as its front page story. Last week the John O'Groat Journal and the Press & Journal ran stories revealing a secret cost cutting plan to try and tackle the Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. the maternity unit was specifically mentioned as being inefficient and recommended the relocation of specialist staff to Inverness. The inefficiency comes not from any short comings of the staff but from the low birth rate in recent years in Caithness. The fact is that people of child bearing age are leaving the area and many reports point to demographic changes in the age structure of the population due in part to economic factors.
More stories are coming forward almost daily of the problems women have had in the past which would not have been coped with if they had had to go to Inverness. Everyone is waiting for developments or statements but to date no assurances about the services have been given by either the Trust or the Health Board.
If anyone has information or would like to say what they think on the matter the Message Board already has a section to use. Any significant details will be transferred to these pages over the coming months.
[This article has been transferred here from our archives]
Caithness Health Action Team would like to give our sincere thanks to this fantastic team who have raised a significant amount for us £1,765 .This money will be used to help our community. They have cycled a distance of 874 miles equivalent of John o Groats to Lands end journey.
Caithness Health Action Team along with the League of Friends for Caithness General hospital wanted to help patients and staff in our local Caithness hospitals. We contacted NHSH and agreed that providing high quality Samsung tablets ,with protective wipe able covers would be an excellent way to help ,especially as at the moment there is currently no visiting allowed due to the pandemic.
When Bruce de Wert of Georgesons Solicitors heard of the distress of new Mums having to drive back from Inverness with their newborn in danger, he knew he had to do something. The problem is that newborns cannot sit in car seats without compressing their lungs and it is a long way from Inverness to Caithness! And, so, he announced that this year the charity for Wills Week would be CHAT who provide lie flat car seats for for newborn babies.
On Friday 18th October four of the CHAT's team visited the new Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall, Orkney. The main purpose of the visit was partly to see then hospital but in particular how maternity services work there.
Operations had to be cancelled across NHS Highland because hospitals simply could not cope, new figures reveal. Data published by ISD Scotland shows that 45 operations were cancelled in May 2019 due to non-clinical reasons such as not having enough staff or unclean equipment.
Mikie Aitken , Quality Control Inspector for Subsea7 Wester Site ,recently won a thousand pounds for a safety award while working on the Equinor Snorre project to be given to a charity of his choice. He chose to donate to Caithness Health Action Team 100mile helper kits which are given to Caithness General Hospital , Community Maternity Unit who give the kits to local women that have to be quickly transferred to Raigmore maternity hospital in an emergency situation.
A visit of the Labour Party Leader in Scotland Richard Leonard MSP accompanied by Rhoda Grant MSP heard from the third sector and Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT) about problems arising to the community from changes to health provision and wide range of topics. Roger Saxon the local Labour party organiser and Alan Tait from Caithness Voluntary Group facilitated the meeting at the Pulteney Centre in Wick.
Uptake jumps to 96% as 80,000 deliveries made to parents. The new Baby Box design, created by a team of children and young people, has been unveiled.
A popular resource for pregnant women and their families has been updated to include the latest information on perinatal mental health support. A refreshed edition of Scotland's ‘Ready Steady Baby' publication was launched today by Minister for Public Health Joe FitzPatrick.
With respect to the new hospital at Aviemore Dr Boyd Peters said "We have been on this journey since 2012 and the land purchase is a significant step towards securing much needed modern healthcare facilities for the population of Badenoch and Strathspey" After seven years it finally reaches the planning stage so that must mean yet another two or even three years until its on the ground and working. In Caithness redesign of health services has been going on and on for several years and recently we have the early stages of a "hub" idea being promoted.