View Full Version : No Consultant in Wick - ALREADY?

lynne duncan
15-Apr-04, 15:33
Richard Carey telephoned George Bruce today to advise him that as of Friday 16 April there will be no Consultant Maternity Service at Caithness General Hospital on a temporary basis. A press release is to be issued by the Health Board this afternoon where further details may be obtained.

15-Apr-04, 16:07
What bl**dy right have they to do this, all my children were born at the CGH without any complications, I consider myself very lucky.

This is the thin edge of the wedge my fellow Caithnessians and we must fight this to the end and we must win this battle.

For all those who have young kids someday you may need this service for your children and grandchildren to be.

I am livid what the hell am I paying my taxes for, to support the NHS south of the border, I think not. We have an absolute right to medical care at all levels particularly as we are so remote.

What will stop this madness? A death?

Surely this is a breach of our European Civil Rights?

Bill Fernie
15-Apr-04, 16:52
Here is the press release on the
NAG web site from the Health board issued today -


15-Apr-04, 18:06
This isn't good news, but to be honest doesn't surprise me. I truly believe that the recruitment and retention of doctors, consultants and general medical staff is a necessity and something that desperately needs looked at.

If we are not careful we will lose a whole load of medical services in rural areas, and it is starting to happen now.

However let us remember that safety is a priority and whilst we have no maternity service at the moment we need to make sure we have a safe system in operation until things can be resolved.

However, we need doctors and consultants, and with out of hours and lifestyle factors that may be difficult, as we are seeing, and an issue that the health board seriously needs to look at.

Andrew Usher
Practice Manager
Dunbeath Surgery

15-Apr-04, 18:12
In typical Health Board fashion my wife has come home ( Dr Usher) from the surgery to read about this via caithness.org. Rather shocking, especially if you consider what happens if she needs to refer to gynaecology.

You would have thought that with the closure of something as important as this, that they would let the troops on the ground know.

I find this a little disturbing and unacceptable. Wouldnt have taken much to send a fax.

Andrew Usher
Practice Manager
Dunbeath Surgery

15-Apr-04, 18:49
Is this the start of the final round?
We must ensure that as this is a 'temporary' situation due to ill health that the health board get someone up to cover ASAP. They have previously said that nothing will change until due process has been completed. They have to get a rough ride on these 'test' closures from the public and elected officals and be pressed to ensure that their emergency cover procedures do not take the easy way out of only arrangingthe transfer of all mothers to Inverness. Last time this happened at one stage Caithness was left with only ONE ambulance to cover the whole county due to others being involved with transfers to Inverness.
Lets hope that they can quickly find a locum to cover the situation and restore the status quo until all have had a fair chance to develop long term solutions to the problem.

Can anyone advise who to put pressure on to get the consultant cover reinstated and what is the best way of putting pressure on these people??


lynne duncan
15-Apr-04, 21:06
this is what happened with the Vale of Leven hospital they also were under review as we are and they couldn't recruit gynae's and they ended up the same way cmu led.
Also if the Depute Jim Wallace is in the county tomorrow , where and when and if anyone is within speaking range please confront him on this subject.

15-Apr-04, 21:10
Banana - What will stop this madness? A death?

I'm afraid in this case not even a death would make any difference, money seems to be far more important.

15-Apr-04, 21:54
I was totally gob-smacked when i heard about this on the radio today.
How much do we in caithness have to put up with before someone stands back and sees what they are doing to our county, we in caithness are being given a rough deal here, NO MATERNITY SERVICE, NO NATIONAL HEALTH DENTISTS, HIGHER PRICES FOR PETROL, A_USHER mentioned gynaecology department, i was to go to hospital today for that department, but she is off sick, and they have no idea when she will be back,this will be the next thing we will have to go to inverness for?
I hope this is not going to be written in the future history ,"HIGHLAND CLEARANCES" but for a different reason!

15-Apr-04, 22:15
I've just read the Press Release put out by the Health Board.

I have to restrict my comments to say only that it is "disingenuous" in the extreme. (If I said what I really meant I would be thrown off the Forum forever).

This is just the opportunity they have been waiting for, they must have thought all their birthdays have come at once!

Sufficient locums will be difficult to find and permanent staff impossible to get, they will see to that, after all it's not to difficult to put applicants off and even easier to say "No suitable applicants came forward".

Keep spinning things out for a while and when the time seems right, "Well things have run smoothly so far so we will leave then as they are."

I can see the smug, self-satisfied looks on their faces already.

They have got exactly what they wanted and they didn't even have to dirty their lily-white hands.

16-Apr-04, 08:53
If CGH is not ready to deal with a Midwife-led situation because all the points in Calder's report would need to be addressed, then is Raigmore ready either? The points about training, transport, accommodation, numbers of Doctors etc were all to be addressed and any requirements implemented before this situation arose. According to the press release - "We have looked at the possibility of supplying Consultants from Raigmore to cover the service even during the daytime but we just don't have the doctors to do that." Do they have enough to deal with the influx NOW?

Plus, as Highlander says, what happens to the gynae clinical list now? What happens to pregnant women awaiting scans and tests? What happens if you go into labour unexpectedly? Why isn't there a system in place for informing GPs and Community Midwives? And... what the hell were they planning to do in May when Dr Thomas left anyway???

I'm 20 weeks pregnant now and can tell you that this is not helping my blood pressure one little bit!

16-Apr-04, 10:39
What happens if you go into labour unexpectedly? Why isn't there a system in place for informing GPs and Community Midwives? And... what the hell were they planning to do in May when Dr Thomas left anyway??? I'm 20 weeks pregnant now and can tell you that this is not helping my blood pressure one little bit!

I'd love to hear the answers to these questions as well. I'm now 35 weeks pregnant, and as of this morning I haven't been told that I should go elsewhere if I do go into labour prematurely. When were they going to give us some sort of info?? [mad]

16-Apr-04, 16:19
May one ask precisely how this wonderful new scheme to have all Caithness babies born at Raigmore until further notice is supposed to work? Admittedly some babies are considerate enough to give several hours notice of their arrival but many do not and they are notoriously unreliable when it comes to dates. At what point after the commencement of contractions is the decision taken to transport the mother to Raigmore? How many babies will be born en route? What arrangements will be made for the father to accompany the mother or will he be expected to make his own way? Presumably most fathers would wish to accompany their wives at this time to give reassurance and support but will the ambulance wait for them to return from work or whatever? How are parents with other young children expected to make arrangements for their care, possibly over several nights, at such short notice? Why do I have a nasty suspicion that the authorities may be planning to have babies induced so that the inevitable surprises which accompany natural childbirth can be overcome? This was a scenario waiting to happen but was their any contingency planning - of course not.

One other nasty little complication I see on the front page of today’s “Groat” - the A9 is to be closed overnight on several dates in May and June. Is the Health Service aware of this? Will air ambulances be available on those nights?

Why cannot Midwives continue to deliver babies where no complications are anticipated and if an emergency does arise a consultant should be flown to Wick. We are told the birthrate here is not high enough to attract consultants so the situation is unlikely to arise very often.

Sara's Mother-in-law

19-Apr-04, 16:01
I dont think the air ambulance is allowed to fly at night as its not insured, would have to be the RAF, and with the winds we are having atm what can the RAF helecopter land in? :roll:

19-Apr-04, 18:47
It appears that nothing is left to chance and mothers are being sent to Raigmore 5 days before the due date. Wonder if anyone has told the babies to arrive promptly. Of course no thought or provision has been made for fathers to be with their wives or for other children in the family to be cared for. Neither has it apparently occurred to anyone that this additional stress might not be good for mother (or baby).

19-Apr-04, 18:54
I have to say that, unfortunate as it is for the public, the midwives at CGH are right to say that they are not prepared to run the service without consultants at the moment. They should not be put in this situation as, in order to run as a full mid-wife led service, they would undertake further training and preparation. If they just 'get on with it' at the moment it could be said that they were coping as it is and no further training would be forthcoming. It is very unfair to expect them just to pick up a consultant's duties as well.

The number of women travelling in labour hopefully should be minimal but only because they will be expected to trundle down to Inverness (under their own arrangements?) 5 days before their due date and hang around for however long it takes! I can only assume that there are arrangements in place for all the points that have been raised re transport and accommodation but that may only be wishful thinking as no-one seems to have a clue what is going on. [disgust] Time to start bombarding NHS Highland for answers I think.

19-Apr-04, 20:45
This is appalling - five days before is fine but my last baby was two weeks early - what happens then? what about women who's labours are very rapid -my sisters second child took two hours from first contraction to birth - somewhere round about Tain i would think!!!

Surely there are some imaginative solutions to this problem. Ok i dont know the training required but there are lots of doctors from abroad who would like to work and train here - perhaps Caithness General could be some sort of a "centre of excellence" for Gynaecology, Obstetrics and Peadiatrics or a stepping stone - Doctors from abroad could be given leave to stay in the UK if they agree to do a term at a rural hospital. More money might be an inducement to people to come. Golden hellos perhaps? Offering paid for accomodation and extra training might benefit us too.What about accelerated advancement for Doctors agreeing to do twelve months at a rural hospital in recognition of the wide variety of situations they will take sole responsibility for. Failing that if Doctors are employees like the rest of us then they can be TOLD they are coming here for six months. NHS highland should not take anyone on who does not agree to that. They could then have a rolling programme of doctors taking up these posts.

Agreed these need money but it has to be worth it surely.

19-Apr-04, 22:00
I might be wrong but I did hear that things should be back to normal early in May.

Can anybody confirm or deny?

And squidge will you behave please! Has nobody told you that original thought is not allowed and common sense was banned some time ago.

One thirty second post and you have come up with more sensible ideas than the Empty Heads at the NHS Highlands Board have come up with in the last three years!

20-Apr-04, 08:13
back to normal early may would probibly mean closed :/

isnt it corrent that they want women to go to inverness and stay in b&b 5 days before thier due date and not into raigmore and that you pay the b&b yourself??

20-Apr-04, 09:22
Now, let's not add any more rumour to the mill please! Unless you know these things as fact it is quite alarmist to raise them as people have enough to worry about! Have you heard from someone that this has happened to or are you just guessing that it may happen? :confused

There is accommodation available at Raigmore so I can only think that it would be 'overspill' that would end up in B&B.

20-Apr-04, 09:25
Now, let's not add any more rumour to the mill please! Unless you know these things as fact it is quite alarmist to raise them as people have enough to worry about! Have you heard from someone that this has happened to or are you just guessing that it may happen? :confused

There is accommodation available at Raigmore so I can only think that it would be 'overspill' that would end up in B&B.

20-Apr-04, 10:56
dont want to cause alarm but check with NAG but I am pretty sure that accomodation is your responcability.

20-Apr-04, 19:25
I have just seen the leaflet which has been given to midwives and it appears many of our concerns have been addressed, e.g. ambulances will be allowed through the roadworks, it's just that NHS Highland don't seem to feel the need to tell us and I have emailed Richard Carey today (having been in touch with him previously on the maternity issues) to suggest that all their plans be publicised as soon as possible to allay at least some of our fears. Quite why it hasn't occurred to them that all the rumours and speculation are causing massive stress to expectant mothers and their families I have no idea but I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.

21-Apr-04, 00:29
A lot of the rumours and the worries are caused by NHS Highlands playing childish games of lets pretend. (It wouldn't be nice to call them liars).

They know full well what they are going to do and the rest is just window dressing so they can say they went through the motions.

If they dropped the "will we, won't we" routine and give us the bottom line everybody would know where they were up to.

Falling birth rates, not enough trained staff, no consultants. the list is endless and every bit of it has the unmistakable stench of bovine excretion.

One of the three Glasgow Maternity Units has to close. Today one was chosen by the local NHS Board. The decision has to be confirmed by the Scottish Executive. It will then take a further 14 months for the decision to be implimented. (So why the rush with Caithness General?)

The Glasgow situation was being discussed on Radio Scotland at Tea-time when the comment was passed that one of the Units couldn't really be closed as it was fairly new.

Seeing that this was obviously planned, built and opened before there was any mention of closures one must ask oneself WHY?

Why build a new Unit only to include it in a possible closure list.

Falling birth rates, not enough trained staff, no consultants, these things do not occur overnight and can be forseen and planned for well into the future.

What does occur overnight are Government dictated Economic Cutbacks.

The whole process is obviously one hugh Cost Cutting Exercise at the expense of our health and well-being no matter how they try to cover it up with excuses.

21-Apr-04, 09:51
The dropping birth rates are a bit of a trick, for the past few years they have been sending more and more women to raigmore, lowering the birthrate in caithness. nice trick since thats the basis for closing wick.

it seems aswell that people in sutherland dont get the option to go to wick when taken realy ill, my neighbour demanded to be taken in to hospital and was told no as there was no beds available in golspie or raigmore, eventualy she had to dial 999.