Highlands & Islands

Concern over obstetric service at Caithness General

Baby's hand
Image caption Maternity services at Caithness General are led by midwives

NHS Highland may have to put in place contingency plans so it can continue to offer care to pregnant women at Caithness General in Wick.

The board has described staffing of its obstetric service at the hospital as "very precarious" and "fragile".

One of the three consultant obstetricians who run the service left in December and a new locum has died "very suddenly", NHS Highland said.

Leave commitments for other staff have compounded the situation.

Gill McVicar, NHS Highland's director of operations for its north and west operational unit, said: "Attempts are being made to secure the services of other locums but it is likely that contingency plans will have to be put in place in the next few weeks to ensure a safe service."

Out-of-hours services could be affected, the board has said.

The maternity service at Caithness General is led by midwives.

Women assessed as being at high risk are booked in to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness as a matter of routine.

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