A pregnant woman had to take a 60-mile taxi journey in order to give birth in Aberdeen.
The woman, from Fochabers, went into labour at around 9pm on Sunday but due to the downgraded maternity unit at Elgin’s Dr Gray’s Hospital she had to travel to the Granite City.
She and her husband had already arranged the journey with local taxi driver Garey Stewart, 57.
According to Garey, the pair were not eligible for an ambulance.
Garey said: “They got in touch with me about a month ago, and I just stored their number and waited for their call.”
Despite being aware in advance, Garey said it “never hit him” until he was putting a plastic sheet in the back of his taxi.
He said: “I knew that I had to get my act together, but then it dawned on me that I had to get my sleeves rolled up, because this is for real.”
Despite the 80-minute journey, Garey only charged the couple £100 when he would normally make around £140 for the same trip.
NHS Grampian recently downgraded the maternity ward at Dr Gray’s hospital in Elgin, meaning women with medium or high-risk pregnancies need to be transferred to Aberdeen or Inverness.
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Moray MP Douglas Ross praised Garey’s actions, but railed against the lack of provisions in Moray.
He said: “Garey Stewart of Guvnors Taxis clearly did a great job of getting this woman safely to hospital.
“However, it is simply unacceptable that an expectant mum in labour should be forced to travel such a distance to give birth in Aberdeen.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said: “We realise that the temporary changes to maternity services at Dr Gray’s are difficult for local people and we are sorry to hear of this family’s experience, which can only have added to an already stressful situation.
“We would encourage them to get in touch with us so that we can investigate their concerns in full.”