Highlands & Islands

New role to help pregnant women in Caithness

pregnant woman Image copyright Thinkstock

NHS Highland is piloting a new role to better help pregnant women in Caithness who go to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness to have their babies.

The new liaison officer at Raigmore will assist other staff in arranging transport and accommodation at the city hospital for expectant mums.

The role has been set up following changes to the provision of maternity services at Caithness General in Wick.

A new midwife-led community maternity unit was introduced in January.

Maternity services were previously led by consultant obstetricians.

However, Caithness General has no facilities for on-site specialist neonatal paediatric support or adult intensive care.

NHS Highland has also said that the majority of births at the hospital in Wick can be handled by midwives only.

Pregnancies involving complications are handled at Raigmore, as they have been for a number of years.

But the changes at Caithness General were also brought in on the back of internal and external reviews of the maternity services. The reviews followed two "potentially avoidable" deaths of five babies.

NHS Highland is setting up of the new liaison officer role in addition to plans by the health board and the Scottish Ambulance Service to invest in increasing ambulance provision in Caithness to better meet demand for hospital transfers.

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