The Scottish Government has confirmed that the Aboyne Maternity Unit will close as part of plans to standardise maternity care across the region.
At a meeting in June, the Board of NHS Grampian agreed to submit the final proposals for maternity services in Grampian to the Scottish Government for ministerial consideration.
This followed a three-month public consultation on proposals to close the unit - and provide care at Community Maternity Units (CMUs) in Inverurie, Aberdeen and Peterhead - which ended in March.
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy, Nicola Sturgeon, has backed the proposals.
In a letter to NHS Grampian chief executive Richard Carey, Ms Sturgeon said: “I have given careful consideration to NHS Grampian’s maternity proposals in terms of quality, safety and access to services and have reached the view that the proposals are consistent with national policy and will provide a modern, fit-for-purpose service for the benefit of patients. I am therefore giving my approval to NHS Grampian to move forward with the implementation of these proposals.”
Aboyne councillor Peter Argyle was disappointed to hear of the decision.
He said: “Local people put forward excellent reasons why NHS Grampian’s proposals for the future of Maternity Services in the North-east would be strengthened by the retention of the Aboyne unit.
“Concerns about the remoteness of upper Deeside and Donside from the proposed maternity services, about the near-impossibility of travelling to Inverurie by public transport and even about the simple distances involved, all appear to have been dismissed by NHS Grampian and now by the Minister. This is a sad day for Aboyne.”