Labour’s Argyll and Bute candidate in next yer’s UK general election has called for local maternity scanning services to be restored to community hospitals in Argyll and Bute.
Mary Galbraith’s demand follows a decision last year to halt all maternity scanning by midwives and radiographers in Rothesay, Campbeltown, Dunoon, Islay, Lochgilphead in Oban, and to require pregnant women, usually accompanied by their husbands or families, to travel to Glasgow, Greenock or Paisley for scans.
“Expectant mums have approached me about how stressful this is,” Ms Galbraith said.
“They don’t know whether the Rest [and be Thankful] will be open, or if ferries will be running. These long journeys and overnight stays can’t be good for their blood pressure, especially if there are any complications.
“I’ve also heard from staff who’ve been kept in the dark about what’s happening. They’re told they can’t speak out, and many are very disappointed that yet more local health services have been withdrawn, to the detriment of local communities and their own professional skills.”
The local service was removed last year due to changes in the training, qualification and supervision requirements for maternity scanning, and also in the technology available, which meant community-based scanning in Argyll and Bute was no longer compliant.
Ms Galbratih has written to the health boards in Highland and in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and also to health minister Alex Neil MSP, seeking urgent action on the issue.
“The minister and his NHS officials need to do a lot more for these women and their unborn children,” she said .
“There are hundreds of them in Argyll & Bute now who’re putting up with this unacceptable situation. I’m a mum myself, and am grateful that I could get access to local scanning when I was expecting my girls.”
“Young couples planning to start a family are less inclined to stay in Argyll & Bute – or return to their home area – if maternity services remain so deficient.
“Depopulation is already a major factor hindering the economic development of the area. If more young adults leave, or are discouraged from moving to Argyll and Bute, it will damage attempts to rebuild the economy.”