Monica Asks The Cabinet Secretary For Health About Wishaw Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Scottish Government, Health Secretary Neil Gray has claimed “there is no downgrading of Wishaw general hospital’s neonatal unit” in response to questions from Monica. 

Last year the Scottish Government announced plans to change the University Hospital Wishaw neonatal intensive care unit from service level 3 to level 2. When implemented the UK award-winning neonatal intensive care unit will no longer be able to care for babies with the most severe medical needs, including premature infants born at 27 weeks or earlier or those weighing less than 800g. 

More than 21,000 people have signed a petition urging the Scottish Government to halt the downgrade, including families who have received vital NICU care. 

Monica said:  

“The downgrading of Wishaw’s NICU has been hanging over the people of Lanarkshire for months.  

“Neil Gray must speak up about the Scottish Government’s plans to reduce specialist intensive care for the most vulnerable babies in Lanarkshire.” 

The denial in the Scottish Parliament was prompted by Monica quizzing Neil Gray, the SNP MSP for Airdrie and Shotts, who was recently elevated to the top NHS job in the Scottish Government.

Monica is campaigning against the plans to strip out consultant-led care at the NICU. She probed the Cabinet Secretary on the impact of the NICU downgrading on NHS Lanarkshire performance, and the effect on babies, children and families in Lanarkshire. 

The Health Secretary rejected the description used by Monica and campaigners and defended the plans. He said the “changes are about ensuring that we provide, in a safe way, the specialist services that certain sick babies need.”

Monica added: 

“Over 21,000 parents across Lanarkshire cannot be wrong. Wishaw’s award-winning neonatal staff cannot be wrong. Neil Gray must admit that the people of Lanarkshire will be in receipt of a downgraded service if these wrongheaded plans are not halted. 

 “Babies and families across Lanarkshire, including his very own constituents will be let down by the downgrading of Wishaw’s neonatal unit from Level 3 to Level 2. 

“The award-winning unit has provided phenomenal care for babies, mothers and families, saving countless lives. 

“The Health Secretary should listen to the voices of staff and parents. He must stand up for the people of Lanarkshire and stop this proposal.”