THE only Scottish health board to charge families for images from antenatal scans is to review the policy following an investigation by an MSP.

Parents-to-be in the NHS Highland area have to pay £5 for one image of their unborn babies, or £10 for three.

The health board says the prices cover the costs of the paper used to make the print outs.

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However, it has pledged to reconsider after an investigation by Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes revealed it is the only health authority in the country with fixed charges in place.

Twelve out of 14 NHS boards provide one copy of the ultrasound images for free, while NHS Lothian requests a voluntary donation in return for three copies.

Forbes 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.

“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.

“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.”

NHS Highland said its charges were established some time ago.

However, yesterday a spokesperson said: “NHS Highland can confirm that we do charge £5 for a copy of an antenatal scan and £10 for three copies.

“The antenatal scans are printed on high quality photographic paper for personal use by expectant parents, and the current charges were put in place after an increase in 2014.

“Charging for scanned photographs has been in place for a number of years, but in the light of the current information we will now undertake a review of this practice.”

Forbes, who wrote to NHS Highland chairman David Alston calling for the fees to be scrapped, says financially-struggling constituents are amongst those who have had to make the payments.

She said: “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.

“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. It’s only fair that Highland mums are afforded the same respect.”