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23 November 2006

Stevenson Welcomes Scottish Health Council's Criticism Of NHS Grampian On Maternity Consultation

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the publication of a report by the Scottish Health Council which criticises NHS Grampian’s consultation process on the future of North-east maternity units.

The Scottish Health Council has a remit to consider whether NHS Boards have adequately consulted their local populations in relation to significant NHS service change in accordance with existing guidance.

The report concludes that the Scottish Health Council is “of the view that there should have been wider involvement and engagement with affected communities, particularly in the early stages of the process and the options development exercise. It is unfortunate that the options for maternity services were developed by professionals only before being discussed with the North Aberdeenshire Public Involvement Group.” (Report Conslusions para 2, p28)

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“This is a welcome report and it confirms completely what local people have said all along about the manner in which NHS Grampian have conducted this whole exercise.

“There are vitally important lessons here to be learned by NHS Grampian about how they treat local communities who value their health services and how to engage with local people on such issues of importance.

“It is not the role of the Scottish Health Council to reach a view on the decisions made, but clearly it is common-sense to retain a maternity unit in a town of 12,000 people which is over one hour away from its nearest acute services hospital in Aberdeen.

“The clear message of this campaign is that it’s time to keep health services local.”
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