Pregnant mums in the Highlands are the only women in Scotland having to pay £5 for a photo of their baby’s ante-natal scan, Freedom of Information requests have revealed.
Kate Forbes MSP has now called on NHS Highland to reconsider the practice in light of almost all of Scotland’s other health boards in Scotland providing a complimentary copy. 12 out of 14 health boards issue one copy free, whilst NHS Lothian requests a voluntary donation.
Almost all expectant mums have an ultrasound scan around 12 and 20 weeks, which helps build a picture of their baby in the womb and gives an indication of his or her likely arrival date.
Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “Seeing your baby for the first time on a scan at the hospital is an exciting and happy moment for mums and dads-to-be, particularly when you can see their little hands and feet moving for the first time.
“But it is unfortunate that pregnant mums in the Highlands are the only women in Scotland having to pay £5 for a photo of their baby at their ante-natal scans.
“When virtually all of the other health boards in Scotland are providing a complimentary photo at such a happy time, I strongly think that NHS Highland should follow suit.
“This is not about handing out freebies, but about recognising that there is nothing as important and precious as bringing a new life into the world and we should be supporting mums at every stage of the process.
“I strongly feel that mums are often backed into difficult decisions because the burden falls on them and there isn’t enough support in place.
“I believe that, as a society, we need to recognise the importance of motherhood and ensure that we remove as many obstacles as possible for mums and dads.
“I have written to the chair of NHS Highland board in the hope that this can be reconsidered.”
Kate Forbes MSP added: “Tragically, some mums can go on to have miscarriages – and often these scan photos can be the only meaningful record that the families have after their painful loss of a baby.
“I recently heard about a young mum from a deprived area in my constituency, who was so excited about becoming a mum for the first time, that she spent over £50 on scan photos because she understandably wanted to show off her baby scan photo to her mum, sister and all her aunties.
“Whilst I accept not everyone will be doing this, the point remains that this young mum used a lot of money from precious little disposable income for once in a lifetime scan photos, and we should be supporting her.
“I am hugely thankful for our hardworking midwives and obstetricians, who often go well beyond the cause of duty to ensure first class care of Highland mums, their babies and families.
“However, I think it’s only fair that Highland mums are afforded the same respect.”