Politicians welcome good news about children’s services

Local elected representatives have welcomed NHS Grampian’s announcement that the Special Care Baby Unit at Dr Gray’s will reopen, and that a full seven day service in the Children’s Ward can now be restored.

Moray MPS Richard Lochhead said: “I’m really pleased that NHS Grampian is in a position to step up the services available at Dr Gray’s with the Special Care Baby Unit set to reopen and a seven day service in the Children’s Ward to be restored.  This is certainly welcome progress which I hope can help more women deliver their babies in Moray, and of course for more children to be cared for locally too.

“There is however still a large gap to plug due to the lack of junior doctors choosing to do their training at Dr Gray’s. NHS Grampian must look at every option available to them, including locum cover, to plug this gap whilst we await the long term plan to kick in as this will allow more babies to be born in Moray.”

Moray MP Douglas Ross has also welcomed the decision: “It is good news that parents in Moray can now take sick children to Dr Gray’s seven days a week”, he said. “It was a bitter blow earlier this year when the hospital not only closed the children’s ward to admissions at night, but then the service was cut further so that the children’s ward was open only from Monday to Friday.

“It seems that a combination of permanent paediatric staff and locums are now in place at Dr Gray’s to cover a rota that will allow the children’s ward to be open every day from 8am to 10pm, which is a welcome move.

“Unfortunately, there are still not enough staff to be able to return to a 24-hour service for sick children in Moray. That seems to be as far away as ever, unfortunately, because the next intake of junior doctors takes place in February and I am told by NHS Grampian that the recruitment position here is bleak.

“The rota involving the additional paediatric staff does, however, mean that the Special Care Baby Unit at Dr Gray’s has re-opened. So, we are moving in the right direction, albeit slowly, and I hope that work will continue to restore full services in the children’s ward and maternity unit, which is what the people in Moray have every right to expect.”