Highlands & Islands

Midwife-led unit introduced at Caithness General in Wick

Pregnant woman Image copyright Thinkstock

A new midwife-led community maternity unit (CMU) has been introduced at Caithness General in Wick.

Maternity services were previously led by consultant obstetricians.

However, the hospital has no facilities for on-site specialist neonatal paediatric support or adult intensive care.

NHS Highland has said that the majority of births at the hospital can be handled by midwives only.

Pregnancies involving complications are handled at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

Internal and external reviews of services at Wick support the need for the planned changes, the health board has said.

Five newborn babies have died at the hospital since 2010. An external review and report suggested that at least two were "potentially avoidable".

CMUs provide care to pregnant women in other parts of NHS Highland's area.

Campaign group Caithness Health Action Team (Chat) has raised concerns about women having to travel 100 miles (160.9km) from Caithness to Inverness to have their babies.

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