NHS HIGHLAND is being pressed to carry out a risk assessment of winter weather travel from Caithness to Inverness after several expectant far north mums-to-be were forced to brave Beast from the East blizzards on a 110-mile trip to Raigmore Hospital.
Two mothers in labour were driven in a minibus from Caithness General in Wick at about 8pm last Friday and escorted with a snow plough to Raigmore – arriving at around midnight.
“I’m not happy about this situation at all. That was a very risky journey,” said Kevin Beales from Wick, whose son and partner were in the convoy of vehicles cutting a path through the snow-covered A9.
Father-to-be Sean Beales (24) drove at the back while his expectant partner Kayla (21) lay in what was described as a “minibus-style ambulance” along with another mum-to-be whose partner was in the convoy too, according to Mr Beales.
“There was another lassie from Thurso in this thing that was like a minibus,” he said.
Mr Beales is delighted that his new grandson Brodie was born without any difficulty at 4am on Saturday but is still angry that his son and partner had to undertake the “risky journey” in such treacherous conditions.
NHS Highland have been challenged by far north MP Jamie Stone and Caithness Health Action Team (Chat) to do “proper risk assessments” on these journeys.
A SAS spokesperson said: “A full clinical assessment was undertaken by NHS Highland and the Scottish Ambulance Service, taking into account the condition of these patients and they were safely conveyed to hospital by ambulance.
“It was deemed that road transfer was an appropriate method of transport and air support was not required.”