Dumfries & Galloway Health & Social Care

D&G Health & Social Care

Call for boys to take up new opportunity of HPV vaccination

A VACCINATION programme in schools helping to protect against cancer is being expanded to include boys for the first time.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination has been offered to S1 schoolgirls in Scotland since 2008, helping to protect against cervical cancer, and parents are now being asked to ensure permission forms for boys are returned as soon a possible.
However, Consultant in Public Health Medicine Dr Nigel Calvert said: “We’re very pleased to say that, as of this coming Monday March 2, the HPV school vaccination programme is being extended to boys as well as girls.
“This programme has been provided free to girls in S1 since 2008, and the aim of the programme is to prevent infection from the Human Papillomavirus because that will prevent cases of many cancers, but in particular cervical cancer.
“It was a very expensive vaccine at the time, and it was only offered to girls because that was felt to be the most efficient way to use the money. But now we’re in a position to be able to offer it to boys in S1 as well, so I’m very much hoping that this will also be a success, and that parents of boys in S1 class will ensure forms are returned as soon as possible.”
Dr Calvert explains that the vaccinations will help to establish a general immunity to Human Papillomavirus within the region, offering greater protection to both boys and girls.
The vaccination programme for girls and boys is set to run in schools across the region throughout March, and forms have already been sent out.
Dr Calvert said: “It’s a great opportunity, and a really good way of reducing the numbers of cases of this form of cancer.”
To find out more about Human Papillomavirus (HPV), visit the website https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/immunisation/vaccines/hpv-vaccine

Baby-friendly is best for NHS Dumfries and Galloway Services

NHS DUMFRIES and Galloway’s Neonatal Services have been awarded a Certificate of Commitment in a first step towards gaining international recognition from the UNICEF UK (United Nation’s Children’s Fund) Baby Friendly Initiative.

The Certificate was presented to staff by Janet Dalzell, UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Professional Officer for Scotland on February 18 2020 in the Neonatal Unit, Women and Children’s Wing, Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway Infant Feeding Advisor/UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Co-ordinator for Neonatal Services Kay Black said: “We decided to join forces with the Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers in the Neonatal Unit, Women and Children’s Wing, DGRI.

“Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes later in life.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway Health and Wellbeing Specialist/Maternal and Infant Nutrition Lead/UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Project Lead Veronica King said: “We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers – although mothers might be more interested in hearing that it’s easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding.

“We also set out to ensure that all mothers and babies are supported to form a strong loving relationship – whatever their choice of feeding method – as this is the best start for every baby.”

The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme which provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies. In the UK, the initiative works with health professionals to ensure that mothers and babies receive high-quality support to enable successful breastfeeding. The Certificate of Commitment recognises that a health care facility is dedicated to implementing recognised best practice standards.

Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director Sue Ashmore said: “We are delighted that NHS Dumfries and Galloway Neonatal Services has received this award.

“Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mothers at NHS Dumfries and Galloway Neonatal Services have the satisfaction of knowing that their Neonatal Nurses/Staff Nurses/Healthcare Support Workers are aiming to provide the highest standard of care.”

Hospital care hits the gold standard

A HOSPITAL in the region has achieved the gold standard in the care it delivers to patients.
Staff at Annan Cottage Hospital say they are ‘ecstatic’ after being recognised with Gold Level 3 Care Assurance – following a series of unannounced inspections.
Carole Shannon is Senior Charge Nurse at the facility on Stapleton Road in Annan, and she said: “Everyone was just absolutely ecstatic when the news came through.
“This award is about measuring the quality of care being delivered in Dumfries and Galloway, and it’s really just a fantastic confirmation of the excellent quality of care that we strive to deliver at Annan Cottage Hospital.
“It takes a lot of work to deliver that standard of care, and we’re committed to maintain this work in order to provide the best care we possibly can.”
A series of unannounced inspections took place looking at a range of aspects within the hospital’s performance, including food, fluids and nutritional standards as well as pressure ulcer standards.
Annan Cottage Hospital had already achieved Bronze and Silver Level 3 Care Assurance, with this latest grade representing the highest possible level of care.
Across Dumfries and Galloway, work has taken place to develop ways of measuring performance through a Care Assurance framework – adapting measures which were developed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
The Excellence in Care framework is a national approach to develop and implement a world class evidence–based, national method to assuring nursing and midwifery care that reflects the ‘Once for Scotland’ ethos. 
The approach seeks to improve, integrate and co- ordinate the way nursing and midwifery services are delivered within the Scottish public sector to ensure everyone receives a consistent standard and quality service.
Excellence in Care is intended to ensure that people who use services within NHS Scotland can have the confidence that no matter where they are cared for, they will consistently receive high quality nursing care delivered in a compassionate way by confident and competent nurses and midwives.
General Manager for Community Health and Social Care Graham Abrines said: “This is a fantastic achievement by the highly committed and conscientious staff at Annan Cottage Hospital, and recognises the exemplary quality of care which they are delivering, day in and day out.
“A lot of hard work is required to deliver care at this gold standard level, but the team are determined to ensure that this quality is continued – to the benefit of every patient who visits Annan Cottage Hospital.”

Donations see local Blood Bikes riders receive life-saving jackets

GENEROUS donations are helping motorcyclists from the charity Blood Bikes stay safer on the roads – thanks to the purchase of innovative new gear.
The small army of riders in Dumfries and Galloway who give up their time transporting blood and test materials have become the very first team in the whole of the UK to be kitted out with potentially life-saving jackets which automatically inflate if the motorcyclist comes off their bike.
Dave Hook is chairman of Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes, and he said: “These jackets are truly extraordinary pieces of kit, and an extremely welcome addition locally.
“Every day we have teams of motorcyclists carrying out really vital work transporting supplies of blood as well as materials for testing, and this takes them the length and breadth of the country. This is all done by unpaid Volunteers who donate their time to make a difference to our region.”
“Thanks to extremely generous conditions and the support of a manufacturer, we’re now in a position to kit out our riders with these jackets which may prove truly life-saving if the worst should happen.”
Dave says it was a crash involving a local rider on a ride out with a member of the group which prompted the move to acquire the inflatable jackets.
He said: “A rider came off their bike at a relatively low speed. He went over the top of his bike.
“The consequence was that he received life changing injuries. He’s made a recovery, but that incident did highlight to the trustees that we needed to look more at safety for our volunteers. We picked up the ball, and looked to see how we could ensure every one of our riders had the very best protection.”
Helite manufacture body worn inflatable airbag protection jackets and supply through Airvest in the UK, who are supporting Blood Bikes charities throughout the UK. However, Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes are the first in the UK to supply all riders with air vests and crash helmets with comms kits.
Four vests were paid for by Moffat Hospital League of Friends, and more than 40 vests were funded through money provided by Dumfries Hospitals League of Friends. Other contributions have helped to kit out all the riders. The helmets are funded through the Dumfries and Galloway Community Safety Fund.
A spokesman for the company Airvest said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes in the important work they carry out within the region and throughout the UK.
“We hope that the Airvests we’ve provided will help to ensure the safety of those riders as they take to the roads, and provide them with greater confidence as they carry out this work.”
In the case of an accident, the Airvest protects the thorax and spine from direct impact, and supports the base of the helmet preventing neck injury by limiting hyeprflexion and extension. The jacket remains inflated for seven minutes, holding the rider in a safe position.
Dr Peter Armstrong is a consultant in Emergency Medicine with NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and he said: “We’re no strangers to the sometimes very serious injuries that can be experienced by motorcyclists.
“Ensuring you take every possible precaution such as wearing proper protective clothing is going to be very important in ensuring the best outcome if things go wrong. Of course, we would always advise motorcyclists to take great care when out in the roads, and give full consideration to the conditions.”
In addition to the inflatable jackets, Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes are also celebrating the addition of two new bikes to their fleet – thanks to the support of local supermarkets.
One of the bikes has been paid for solely by Morrisons while the other has been partially funded by Tesco and Insured by McCowans of Dalbeattie. The two bikes have been named Frances and Myra. Frances McCowan sadly died and donated funds to insure a bike and Myra is the Community Champion for Morrisons and has supported DGBB through the Morrisons Foundation since DGBB started.
Dave Hook said: “We can’t thank Morrisons, McCowans and Tesco enough for their generosity.
“We also owe a massive debt to those organisations which funded the purchase of the Airvests, and to everyone who has and continues to support the work of Blood Bikes in Dumfries and Galloway.
“I think I speak for all our riders when I say that we’re immensely proud of what we’re able to do to help NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and to be given such support from the community is just amazing.”

Children help create identity for maternity hub

SCHOOLCHILDREN in Wigtownshire are getting creative as they help to name a new women’s, children’s and sexual health services facility taking shape in Stranraer.

Colourful, creative entries are already being received from schools, as part of work to help establish an identity for the dedicated, standalone Women, Children’s and Sexual Health Services Hub.

Head of Midwifery Karen King said: “Work is now well underway to repurpose the Darataigh building on Dalrymple Street and create a facility which will accommodate women, children’s and sexual health services.


“Until now, maternity and children’s services for the west of the region have been provided out of a range of different locations – meaning that pregnant women, new mothers and their children have had to travel between facilities.

“In addition, it means that our clinical teams are not working together to the best advantage of the community and having to share facilities which are dedicated to other purposes.

“The new Women, Children’s and Sexual Health Services Hub will bring together all these services and the staff who deliver them, and improve the experiences of those accessing these services.”

Karen added: “Through the Transforming Wigtownshire programme, and as an important part of the Best Start initiative, we’re really keen that the community is very involved in this work.

“We’re therefore really delighted that children in Wigtownshire are set to help create an identity for this new facility.”

Through the Transforming Wigtownshire programme, Programme Manager Karen Harper has co-ordinated a competition through schools aimed at helping to name and identify the hub.

Karen said: “Young people are absolutely full of creativity, and we’ve been so impressed by the submissions we’ve already received.

“This new facility will be there to support children across Wigtownshire, so it’s appropriate that they should take the lead in helping to create its identity.

“We’re asking children in all schools and clubs across Wigtownshire to think of names for the new hub, and perhaps come up with creative ways to present these ideas. On the evidence so far, children don’t need much prompting to come up with great ideas, but we have given the example of a similar facility in Dumfries called ‘The Willows’.”

Karen added: “The competition is running until 9th December, after which the ideas will be considered and worked through – with prizes awarded as a way of thanks to some of the most outstanding entries.

“The new facility is rapidly taking shape, so hopefully there’ll be a fitting name and identity in place, ready for an opening hoped to take place by spring 2020.”

Karen King said: “We’re really excited about what’s being created, and we will be seeking to promote the full range of services which we will be able to offer.”

Entries to the competition should be submitted to Karen Harper, Locality Office, Victoria Place, Stranraer, DG9 7HX by the closing date of Monday December 9, 2019.


Approach expanded to increase hospital’s patient flow

AN APPROACH aimed at helping with the discharge of patients from hospital has expanded.

The Discharge Lounge which has been running at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary has now been scaled up – helping to ensure better patient flow within the hospital.

Clinical Nurse Manager Anne Allison said: “We first introduced the Discharge Lounge at DGRI in November 2018 and are really pleased with what it has meant for improved patient flow.

“This was an innovation we had seen working well in other hospitals, and our new facility here in Dumfries and Galloway allowed us to test the approach.

“Until now, if a patient was assessed as being well enough to be discharged from hospital this would have meant them having to wait by their bed for all arrangements such as waiting for their relatives to finish work to come and pick them up or transport home to be put in place.

“This had a knock-on effect, because although the patient was fit to go it effectively reduced the numbers of available beds for new patients being admitted.

“We’re dealing with a high volume of patients every week, so anything that can help improve flow through the hospital is definitely an advantage to our work and the patients we’re looking after.”

The Discharge Lounge at DGRI was created in an area adjacent to the main entrance of the hospital. It features a selection of high back chairs, recliners and beds, has toilet facilities, and with beverages and food available throughout the day.

Dedicated nursing staff are based in the Discharge Lounge throughout the day to help co-ordinate patient requirements. The location also provides a point where patients can collect medicines before departure.

Many patients have commented on the improved experience, and comments collected as part of the continual evaluation have included: “Lovely location,” “Discharge experience was 10/10,” “I think the discharge lounge is a great idea.”

Anne Allison said: “People may not have considered this when so much is focused on their health, but the minute a patient is admitted to hospital we’re already planning their departure.

“During the course of treatment, assessments are taking place around the patients’ needs and conversations are held with family and carers about arrangements for their departure. All of this is to ensure that when a patient is ready to leave, they do so in a way that allows the system to treat the next patient being admitted – so they can enjoy the same benefit of treatment and care.

“Similar to a hotel, we aim to discharge all patients who no longer need hospital care by midday or as early as possible. At this point, they will move from a clinical ward to the Discharge Lounge where they will await any final discharge arrangements.

“Patients are asked to help ensure good flow in the hospital by ensuring they have necessary arrangements for leaving hospital including transport, clothes and shoes, and that their home is stocked with food and any medication they may need.”

Anyone seeking more information is invited to contact the Discharge Lounge Team by phoning 01387 246246.



 Left to right: Friendly staff at the Discharge Lounge include Arlene Horsburgh, Rebecca Cartwright and Christine Hunter

Hospital ‘treating older patients with dignity and respect’

OLDER people in a Dumfries and Galloway Hospital are treated with dignity and respect by friendly and approachable staff.

That was the finding of a report which followed an unannounced inspection at Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer by Healthcare Improvement Scotland from September 17 to 19.

Welcoming the findings of the report into Care of Older People, General Manager of Acute and Diagnostics Carole Morton said: “This is an extremely positive report which endorses so much of the good work being carried out by our excellent staff at Galloway Community Hospital.

“Although ensuring people are helped to achieve the best health outcomes is fundamental to what we do, it is essential that patients are always treated with dignity and respect.

“The fact that so many older patients and their families were happy to voice that this was the case at Galloway Community Hospital is a real credit to our extremely hardworking, kind and conscientious staff.

“However, we are never complacent. We are always working to ensure high standards are maintained, and to build on them and make improvements wherever we can. We very much welcome the findings which have emerged from the work carried out by Healthcare Improvement Scotland and are incorporating their recommendations within our improved action plan.”

A team of three inspectors and a project officer from Healthcare Improvement Scotland arrived unannounced at Galloway Community Hospital on September 17 to undertake three days of work looking at rehabilitation, palliative and end of life care in Dalrymple Ward, acute medical admissions and stroke in Garrick Ward and at work in the Emergency Department.

During the inspection they spoke with staff and used additional tools to gather more information, including observation of interactions between patients and staff, interviews with patients, and questionnaires for patients and carers.

Inspectors reported that, ‘During our inspection, we saw that patients were treated with dignity and respect. All patients appeared comfortable and were dressed appropriately. We saw that patients had call bells, fluids and personal items within reach. When call bells were heard, they were answered promptly.’

They also said, ‘Staff were friendly and approachable. We saw staff addressed patients by their preferred name and interactions between patients and staff were positive. We did not hear any inappropriate or negative language.’

The report highlights areas of good practice, including the observation that pressure ulcer risk assessments are being completed within the nationally required timeframe, with specialist pressure relieving equipment in place. It also highlighted that meals are served early and in a timely manner to the patients that required assistance, and that a good range of snacks and additional menu items are provided.

In its recommendations, the report noted that staff must ensure the patients’ usual weight or any reported weight loss is recorded in order to comply with national standards, and that similarly food record charts are commenced and accurately completed for patients who require them.

A variety of comments were collected from patients, carers and visitors, with strong backing for the view that staff are ‘friendly and approachable’.

The Healthcare Improvement Scotland report comes at the end of a very positive year for Galloway Community Hospital.

Earlier this year the hospital enjoyed a very positive inspection report from Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (Scotland) reports in regards to infection control and cleanliness standards. Dalrymple Ward has meanwhile received two Bronze awards for Care Assurance in the last 12 months, and Garrick Ward was named ‘Mentor of the Year’ from the University of the West of Scotland.

The full Healthcare Improvement Scotland report can be viewed at… http://www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org/our_work/inspecting_and_regulating_care/opah_dg/galloway_community_nov_19.aspx

New medicines safety group gives increased assurance

A GROUP has been established with the aim of promoting safe and effective use of medicines throughout Dumfries and Galloway.


The Medicines Safety Group is a sub-group of the Area Drug and Therapeutics Committee (ADTC), which has a focus on improving and maintaining the quality of systems and processes associated with prescribing, administering, dispensing and monitoring of medicines.


Explaining the origins of the new Medicines Safety Group, Lead Acute Pharmacist Alison Bell said: “Medicines safety is integral throughout the work undertaken within NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and is an area where we are always looking for ways in which improvements can be made.


“It was felt that a specific Medicines Safety Group could help with the co-ordination of this work, and provide an oversight spanning right across the organisation – from acute hospitals to GP practices.


“We have drawn together key staff involved in this work to take forward an agenda which will give us even greater assurance around our constant efforts to ensure the safe prescribing, administering, dispensing and monitoring of medicines.”


The Medicines Safety Group has now held an initial meeting, establishing its role and functions.


The group’s primary objective is the identification and co-ordination of improvement activity relating to the use of medicines and minimising any harm from their use.


It is responsible for evaluating local and national evidence relating to systems and processes of medicines use, highlighting priority areas for improvement.


It will also develop and maintain a workplan identifying organisational actions being taken to address priority areas for improvement linking with areas of identified risk.


It will monitor trends, identify learning points, promote sharing of information enabling learning and promotion of good practice, and it will input into the development of medicines codes of practice.


In addition, it will serve as forum for multi-disciplinary, cross-organisational, patient-centred discussion.


Alison said: “We strongly believed there was an important role for a group such as this, and, after having established our remit and membership, are even more convinced of its merits and the good work it can accomplish.


“People should be assured that medicines safety is of paramount important to NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and the creation of this group only further strengthens that assurance.”



PICTURE: Left to right: Assistant General Manager Patsy Pattie, Lead Pharmacist Acute and Diagnostics Alison Bell, Nurse Manager Vicki Nicoll and Senior Charge Nurse Fiona Richardson

Board sets out strategic intent on cancer services

NHS Dumfries and Galloway Board has agreed a strategic intent to seek a realigning of cancer services with the West of Scotland network.

Work is set to take place with colleagues across West and East Cancer Networks  and the Scottish Government around the realigning of these services.

Due to the complexity of such a move this could take several years to complete. This forms part of wider strategic planning at a regional level that aims to address many challenges facing the delivery of specialist care and treatment across Scotland and therefore support service sustainability.

The agreement reached by NHS Dumfries and Galloway Board on Monday was informed by the work undertaken between January and April this year by the Macmillan Cancer Pathways and Palliative Care project.

It collected the thoughts and experiences on the existing structures from people with cancer, their spouses, partners, family members and Carers, as well as those health and care professionals across the Partnership who provide cancer care and support. In total, 543 people contributed.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive Jeff Ace said: “We very much welcomed the report which informed our discussion about the future for cancer services for people living within Dumfries and Galloway.

“Ultimately, we agreed a strategic intent to seek a realigning of cancer services with the West of Scotland network.

“As you can appreciate, the current structures serve a very wide array of patient needs and are interconnected with the rest of Scotland. Our priority is always the welfare of patients, and so changes are likely to take several years.“

In the interim there are measures which can be taken to minimise the number of journeys people have to make to either Glasgow or Edinburgh. This includes utilising technology to ensure as many appointments as possible are provided locally, minimising unnecessary trips outwith Dumfries and Galloway.”

The Health Board committed to working with colleagues in Edinburgh and Glasgow Cancer Centres to take swift action to increase the number of appointments that can be undertaken at a local level whilst recognising people will still have to travel for treatments such as radiotherapy and complex surgery.

Mr Ace said: “The Board is extremely grateful for the excellent, high quality treatment and support which will continue to be provided to our patients with the East of Scotland network while this work is being taken forward.”

‘Best Start’ set to modernise maternity and neonatal services

A MODERNISATION of maternity and neonatal care services is set to take place in Dumfries and Galloway over the next five years.

The Best Start initiative now underway in the region reflects a national strategy for Scotland which aims to place the needs and wishes of all mothers and their babies at the heart of service redesign.

Teams on the ground comprising a range of disciplines are currently working together to roll out the best start vision within NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s Maternity and Neonatal Care.

Linda Williamson is General Manager for Women, Children’s and Sexual Health Services in the region, and she said: “Best Start represents the most significant programme of modernisation within maternity and neonatal care for many years.

“At the heart of the approach is ensuring that the needs and wishes of mothers are prioritised when shaping these services.

“Work has taken place nationally to develop this vision for maternity and neonatal care, and we are at the stage now of working with communities across the region, our staff and partners to ensure that this vision is implemented successfully.”

The vision shapes maternal and newborn care over the next five years. It includes: 

  • All mothers and babies are offered a truly family-centred, safe and compassionate approach to their care, recognising their own unique circumstances and preferences
  • Fathers and partners and other family members are actively encouraged and supported to become an integral part of all aspects of maternal and newborn care
  • Women experience real continuity of care and carer, across the whole maternity journey, with vulnerable families being offered any additional tailored support they may require.

Karen King is the Head of Midwifery/Consultant Midwife, and she said: “Best Start sets the direction for the modernisation of our models of care over the next five years.

“Having a baby is the most special of periods in a family’s life and we recognise that our care is very important, not only to ensure high quality and safe care but also to provide trusted relationships between families and health care providers to ensure our care is person-centred and supportive of people’s individual needs.

“It is also our aim that staff are skilled and well supported to deliver a high quality service every time and they work in a culture with everyone’s contribution is equally valued.”


WORK is advancing on the creation of a facility delivering ante and post-natal care services in the community of Wigtownshire.

As part of the Best Start programme, these services will be delivered through the new Women, Children’s Sexual Health Services Hub in Stranraer, which will be a dedicated, standalone facility.

Head of Midwifery Karen King said: “Currently, maternity and neonatal services for the west of the region are provided out of a range of different locations.

“This not only means that pregnant women, new mothers and their children are required to travel between facilities, but that our clinical teams are not working together to the best advantage of the community and having to share facilities which are dedicated to other purposes.

“The Women, Children’s and Sexual Health Services Hub in Stranraer will be a new, dedicated, standalone facility. It will bring together all these services and the staff who deliver them, and improve the experiences of those accessing these services.

“This facility is being developed in line with the vision of Best Start, and will help achieve its objective of ensuring we meet the needs and wishes of mothers and their children.”

Work is progressing to entirely repurpose the Darataigh building on Dalrymple Street to create a facility which will accommodate women, children’s and sexual health services.

NHS staff from a rage of departments including Estates, Information Technology and Infection Control have been working with colleagues from Women, Children and Sexual Health Services to develop the building, and ensure that it will meet all requirements to the highest possible standards.

Karen King said: “Great progress is being made in the work to develop this new, dedicated facility. We hope it will be ready to open by Spring 2020, and are energised and excited about the improved quality of services which we will be able to offer as we implement the vision of Best Start.

“We’re keen to involve the community as the Hub takes shape, and will be seeking to promote the full range of services which we will be able to offer.”


 A SCANNING service for pregnant women is being brought to Wigtownshire as part of the Best Start initiative.

Head of Midwifery Karen King said: “Currently, pregnant women are required to travel to Dumfries for scans, which we fully appreciate can be an unwelcome journey – particularly for someone in their condition.

“So we are delighted that we are now going to be able to provide this service and deliver this care much closer to where they live.

“Our newly appointed midwife sonographer will initially be based in Galloway Community Hospital, but with plans for this service to be integrated with others out of the Women, Children’s and Sexual Health Services Hub which is rapidly taking form.

From tomorrow, highly experienced midwife Joanne Porter will be providing the scanning service in weekly, Wednesday clinics.

Karen said: “These clinics will include all scans, from early dating to detailed growth scans. This will negate the need to go to Dumfries for most pregnancy scans, providing a more complete local service for women in Wigtownshire.

“This will be done in conjunction with twice monthly locally held consultant clinics.”

Joanne Porter has served in a midwifery role for almost 30 years, and is now a fully qualified sonographer.

She said: “I am local to Stranraer having lived most of my life in Stranraer and Glenluce. I have worked as a midwife in Galloway Community Hospital since 1994, and still love my job. I feel that the extended role of midwife sonographer is very special.

“As women currently have to travel to Dumfries to give birth to their babies unless they are having a home birth, this will cut down on most of the travel and bring a really important service to Wigtownshire.”