Mum-to-be endured eight-hour trip to give birth after local hospital ran out of specialist cots

Emma Moffat, her partner Jamie Sutherland and their two week old son, Harrison (Robert MacDonald/Northern Studios)

A WOMAN who went into labour early had to give birth 260 miles from home after a hospital ran out of specialist cots.

Emma Moffat, 28, from Caithness, was initially sent to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness when she went into labour five weeks early.

But as there were no cots available in the special care baby unit, she had to travel by ambulance to St John’s Hospital in Livingston, with her total journey adding up to eight hours.

And after baby Harrison was born there on April 2, Emma and her partner Jamie Sutherland, 24, had to make the trip back home by train.

Emma first attended Caithness General Hospital in Wick before being taken to Inverness.

She added: “In Inverness I was told I had to go to Stirling as Raigmore had no cots, then the consultant came back and said Livingston.”

Jamie Stone, MP for Caithness, called on NHS Highland and the Scottish Government to address the lack of capacity in the maternity unit at Raigmore.

He said: “This latest revelation is deeply worrying. It is a stark pointer to the fact that the system is far too stretched and that NHS Highland and the Scottish Government must face up to this and act.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Highland said: “On rare occasions the Special Care Baby Unit in Raigmore Hospital can be at capacity which can result in mums to be, or mums and babies being transferred out with Highland.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “There may be times in all areas of Scotland when, due to medical complications or peaks in demand, women and babies are required to travel to ensure the best possible care.

“Our Scotland-wide network of special care baby units ensures both mothers and babies requiring additional care receive it in high-quality units most suitable for their needs, from our most experienced staff.”