The Best Start: A Five year forward plan for maternity and neonatal care in Scotland, Scottish Government. 2017. (accessed March 28, 2017)

Midwifery in Shetland and Orkney

02 April 2017
Volume 25 · Issue 4


Giving the best start and offering holistic health care in women's health and reproductive services in Shetland and Orkney

On one of my final visits as President of the RCM, I was keen to visit part of the UK I'd not yet seen. With the new Director of the RCM in Scotland, I visited the most northerly islands of Shetland and Orkney. The visit opened my eyes to huge opportunities as well as challenges presented by providing high-quality maternity services in remote, rural settings.

NHS Shetland and NHS Orkney are two of the smallest health boards of the 14 health boards in Scotland. The 13 midwives in Shetland provide care for around 200 women — assisted by a team of three specialist GPs. About 140 women give birth on the main island in the Gilbert Bain hospital's maternity unit and the remainder generally give birth across the water in Aberdeen. In Orkney, 11 midwives provide care for a similar number of women and births, supported by three obstetricians, with 50-60 women giving birth in the Aberdeen obstetric unit each year.

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