N E W S F E E D S >>>

Caithness News Bulletins October 2004

October 2004 Index September 2004 Index

Caithness.org News Index

Front Page Archives

North Action Group      
29 October 04
Highland Councillors have agreed to play their part in developing a solution for the future provision of maternity services at Caithness General Hospital, Wick, which will enable as many babies as possible, including first births, to be born in Caithness and at the same time enhance other specialist services locally.

Meeting in Inverness on Thursday 28 October 2004, the Council welcomed news that, as the result of consultation, NHS Highland is considering a new model of service delivery, which could mean two-thirds of births can take place in Caithness General Hospital.

Councillors were unanimous in their support for the current level of services continuing until the new model is agreed and implemented.

Convener Councillor Alison Magee led the debate and said she would be pleased to serve on a working group that will be developing the model.  This would include the clinical community, and other partners as appropriate and with community involvement.

The membership of the group had to be credible in the eyes of the public in Caithness and North Sutherland.

She said: "Caithness General Hospital is the most modern hospital in the Highlands and there is scope for developing services there. I am very pleased that NHS Highland has responded to the consultation process in such a positive way. It is a sign of the maturity of partnership we have developed with NHS Highland. A great deal of work has to be done and we are ready to play our part in maximising the opportunity that this gives us."

Councillor David Flear, Chairman of the Council's Caithness Area Committee, also welcomed the development. "This is an evolving process and we must be fully involved in finding a solution that delivers a sustainable service and enhances an already excellent hospital."

Although at an early stage of development, councillors were told that the new service could involve:

  • Specialist Midwives and Obstetricians working together with General Surgeons, Anaesthetists and Nurses with enhanced skills especially in emergency care;
  • Obstetric support provided locally and/or on a visiting basis to provide the best combination of "on the ground" leadership and support together with visiting specialists;
  • Formal networking through professional and technical links between the Caithness Team and the wider Highland Team;
  • Increased range of specialist services - midwife clinics and services such as infertility treatments and specialist gynaecological laparoscopic treatments could all be possible.

The new model would avoid:

  • an increase in emergency or planned transfers of expectant mothers to Inverness;
  • additional ambulance costs
  •  negative impact on the local economy
The Council has agreed to offer a full briefing for Highland NHS Board members on the final draft of the research into the socio-economic impact of the earlier models proposed. The Chairman and Chief Executive of the NHS Highland Board are to be invited to attend the next council meeting in December to report on the Board's position regarding the new model and its approach to developing it.