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Services for bereaved Caithness mothers should be improved, says Stone

By Gordon Calder

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A CALL has been made for improved services in Caithness for mothers who have lost a baby.

It was made by north MP Jamie Stone during a debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday during Baby Loss Awareness Week.

Mr Stone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, highlighted the difficulties faced by bereaved parents.

He said: "A 200-mile round trip from Caithness to Inverness makes getting the counselling and gynaecological advice so difficult.

"My constituents are losing out on that front, and I wish that Caithness General Hospital in Wick could be used for such purposes."

Mr Stone also spoke about his repeated requests to the Scottish Government for a safety audit into the journey expectant mothers face which have yet to receive a response.

He said: "Those who have experienced the trauma of baby loss must have local access to the support they need.

"The Scottish Government should be ensuring that parents who have suffered such a terrible loss do not need to travel hundreds of miles to receive the care they require, and we need increased investment in Caithness General Hospital to make this possible.

"I will also continue to ask the SNP government to carry out the long overdue safety audit into the 200-mile round trip facing expectant mothers and new parents in my constituency. Geography and distance must not be a factor and no-one should lack access to health services simply because of where they live."

The maternity unit at Caithness was downgraded from a consultant to a midwife-led facility in a move that was strongly opposed by the local community.

NHS Highland insists the decision was made for safety reasons but campaigners point out the potential dangers faced by mothers who have to travel to Inverness to give birth, especially during the winter months.

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