18 January 2010

NHS Responds To MSP Concerns


NHS Grampian Chief Executive Richard Carey has replied to local MSP Stewart Stevenson stating that he is endeavouring to re-open the Fraserburgh Birthing Unit by the end of this month.

Mr Stevenson had approached NHS Grampian again on the closure last month with concerns from local people and fears about the apparent lack of progress being made in re-opening the Unit. The SNP MSP met the NHS Chief Executive in November along with SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford to push for progress. At that time, it emerged that the recruitment of a Team Leader for the facility would be key to re-opening the Unit.

Now, Mr Carey has confirmed that a Team Leader has been recruited from within NHS Grampian and will be deployed full-time with effect from today and, after a period of orientation to her new role, NHS Grampian aim to have the facility re-opened by the end of January.

Welcoming this response, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

"This is good news and should mean that the Fraserburgh Birthing Unit is open to local expectant mothers again by the end of next week.

"I cannot stress how important this facility is to local mothers and expectant mothers and constituents have left me in no doubt that the unit absolutely must re-open. I am therefore delighted that this now appears to be only days away."

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford said:

"This is excellent news for the Broch but I hope that NHS Grampian will have learned from this episode so that neither Fraserburgh nor any other town has to lose its maternity facility for months on end due to staff shortages.

"The local mothers fought an exceptional campaign to keep the facility in Fraserburgh in the first place back in 2006 and it must have been extremely frustrating to see it closed due to recruitment issues. I'm pleased that it looks like normal service will be restored next week."

Fraserburgh & District SNP councillor Brian Topping has also been at the forefront of the campaign to secure the future of the town's birthing unit, getting unanimous backing from all parties on Aberdeenshire Council for his efforts. He said:

"Fraserburgh is the only town in Scotland with a population of over 10,000 people which is more than one hour from an acute services hospital. We need to maintain the maternity provision we have in Fraserburgh for local expectant mothers so I'm very pleased with this news from Stewart Stevenson."

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