The Scottish Government yesterday faced calls for cuts to maternity services to be reversed as its NHS record came under fresh attack.
Labour called for a rethink on proposed changes to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde maternity services as the Tories raised questions about the cost of four new major trauma centres.
The centres in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee were meant to open last year, but this week it emerged they won’t be ready until 2020 at the earliest. Yesterday it was revealed that the independent Scottish Parliamentary Information Service (SPICe) has stated the cost of the project has “yet to be determined”.
The Scottish Government’s stewardship of the NHS has been criticised following the delay to the trauma centres and the revelation that pregnant women hadbeen turned away from the maternity unit at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow on Thursday.
Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said the incident should force a rethink on plans to cut birthing facilities in community maternity units at the Vale of Leven Hospital in West Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde Royal Hospital, and send patients to other hospitals in the area including the QEUH.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has proposed the change as it says the “overwhelming majority” of women choose to have their ante- and-post natal care in the units but opt for delivery in hospital.
In 2015-16 there were only 17 deliveries at Inverclyde Royal Hospital and 43 at the Vale of Leven.
Mr Sarwar has written to health secretary Shona Robison, urging her to “call in” the proposals, a move backed by opposition MSPs in September.
He said: “If pregnant women are being turned away from the biggest hospital in the country, it makes no sense to reduce maternity services in the area.
“That is why today I have written to SNP health secretary Shona Robison calling on her to see sense on the proposal to cut maternity units at the Vale of Leven Hospital and Inverclyde Royal Hospital.”
A statement from the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Any changes to the birthing services in Inverclyde and the Vale of Leven would not be affected by or have any impact on the maternity unit based at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.”
On the trauma centres, the Scottish Government said it had been estimated that they would cost £30 million.
A spokesman added that “more detailed financial planning is under way”.
He also said the Scottish Trauma Network Steering Group would set out a plan later this year.