Highlands & Islands

MSP Gail Ross quits council amid maternity services row

Gail Ross Image copyright Highland Council
Image caption Gail Ross said she has listened to parents who have had different experiences at Caithness General

An MSP has resigned from her role as a Highland councillor amid a row over the future of maternity services at Caithness General Hospital in Wick.

Gail Ross won the Caithness, Sutherland and Ross constituency for the SNP last May and has until now continued to be a councillor for Wick.

Her fellow Caithness councillors want a public inquiry into the future shape of maternity services.

Ms Ross supports NHS Highland's plans to make it a midwife-led service.

She said given that other Caithness councillors have questioned the health board's proposal she felt it was "unsustainable" to continue with the council.

A pubic demonstration was held outside Highland Council's Caithness area committee meeting earlier this week calling for obstetricians to continue to be available at Caithness General.

The maternity unit at the hospital is currently led by consultant obstetricians based at there, but it has no facilities for on-site specialist neonatal paediatric support or adult intensive care.

'Different experiences'

Following an internal review, officials at NHS Highland have recommended that a midwife-led unit be set up because the majority of births at the hospital do not require obstetrics.

They have also recommended "strengthening" services at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and also close working with the ambulance service to handle difficult pregnancies.

Ms Ross said she had considered NHS Highland's internal review carefully and also spoken with constituents.

She said: "I have listened to parents who have had many different experiences with Caithness General maternity services.

"Speaking with NHS Highland, The Scottish Ambulance Service and the Cabinet Secretary on this issue was most helpful.

"The authorities want to support their staff and provide a safe environment for mothers and babies."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites