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27 June 2006

Stevenson Warns Council Not To Fall Into Health Board Trap

27 June 2006

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Use

STEVENSON WARNS COUNCIL NOT TO FALL INTO HEALTH BOARD TRAP

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson is urging Aberdeenshire Council to think very carefully when considering the Motion put forward by Tory Cllr Humphrey which asks the Council to retain at least two of the free standing Maternity Units in Aberdeenshire.

Mr Stevenson says that each of the affected communities has a valid case and the council must be careful not to fall into a ‘divide and conquer’ trap by backing a Motion which only calls for at least two of the units to be saved.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“As I have said on many occasions, maternity services to any community are extremely important and extremely careful consideration must be given to the decision on the future delivery of maternity services in the North-east.

“The Motion put forward by the Conservatives asks that Aberdeenshire Council give their consent to retain at least two units in Aberdeenshire which sounds acceptable on the surface. However, it cannot disguise the fact that this decision, should it be accepted, results in the understanding that there shall be the closure of at least one unit within the Aberdeenshire area. Obviously, closure of any maternity unit in Aberdeenshire I am against and as MSP representative of the area I have listened to the concerns of my constituents and have contacted the relevant authorities on the matter emphasising just how destructive a closure can prove to be.

“Each North-east community currently housing a maternity unit has a very valid case for retention and it is therefore up to all responding to the formal consultation to put this message across as I have done. When it comes to taking a decision on this very important matter we must not allow ourselves to fall into the trap created by NHS Grampian which seems determined to divide communities from each other.

“It must be remembered that having local services is not a matter of tactics or politics, but of principle.”

Note: The Conservative Motion before the council on Thursday is as follows:

In view of the formal consultation now being carried out by NHS Grampian on Older People's Services, Diagnostic and Treatment Services and Maternity Services in Aberdeenshire, this Council urges the Board of NHS Grampian to take account of the clearly expressed wish of a substantial number of the people they represent, to maintain freedom of choice in the delivery of Maternity Services by retaining at least two of the free standing Maternity Units in Aberdeenshire.


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