A CAITHNESS campaign group is calling for NHS Highland’s board to be suspended after “quite explosive” material was handed over to Scottish health minister Shona Robison earlier this week.
Bill Fernie, chairman of Caithness Health Action Team (Chat), says the request was made following information about the way the board handled the downgrading of the maternity unit of Caithness General Hospital.
Mr Fernie, one of five Chat members who met with the minister in Edinburgh on Wednesday, said the material calls into question “a lot of the ethics surrounding the decision.”
He would not reveal any further details as the campaigners want to give Ms Robison an opportunity to study the information and respond to it. The minister handed the material to her chief medical officer and said she would reply to Chat.
Chat is unhappy 91 per cent of women in Caithness have to go to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness to give birth. That has happened since the Wick unit was downgraded from a consultant to a midwife-led facility. “Births at Caithness General have collapsed. Most women have to travel 100 miles to have their babies. Unless there is a serious issue, we feel they should not have to make that journey. The travel is traumatic and expensive for families,” he said.
Mr Fernie thinks it unlikely Caithness General will return to a consultant-led unit but believes more babies could be delivered at Caithness .