Local MSP Jackie Baillie has demanded that the Cabinet Secretary instructs NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to reverse the decision to close the blood pressure clinic at the Vale of Leven Hospital.
Health board officials admitted that the clinic will transfer to the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital following concerns raised by Jackie Baillie MSP about a series of cancelled appointments which left patients and staff in the dark over the future of the service.
Patients who attend the blood pressure clinic will now be referred to their GPs or sent to the new hospital in the south side of Glasgow for specialist treatment. One patient who has attended the clinic at the Vale for over 20 years voiced concerns over poor transport connections for people living in West Dunbartonshire and Helensburgh and Lomond and the impact on the many older people who use the clinic. She also said she was worried that GPs do not have the resources to provide the same specialist service currently delivered at the Vale of Leven Hospital. In an email to Jackie, the local woman said:
“If I am returned to my GP I fear for what follows. My GP practice sometimes does not have a working blood pressure cuff or they do not have one for a larger arm. And I certainly won’t get yearly bloods taken or an ECG ordered by my GP Surgery as they will have to pay for it.
“If I am referred to the Queen Elizabeth hospital I might get the same treatment as at the Vale but I just do not know. And quite frankly it is a very long journey when the Blood Pressure Clinic at the Vale has worked a treat for local people for over 20 years. I doubt whether the many elderly people I see at that clinic could travel easily to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital unless there was a local bus service.”
Jackie has tabled a motion and in order to secure a debate in the Scottish Parliament, there must be cross-party support for the motion lodged by Jackie Baillie. As yet, no SNP MSP has agreed to sign the motion and Jackie is calling on West of Scotland MSP Stuart McMillan and Clydebank MSP Gil Paterson to put party politics aside to support local health services.
“When the Health Secretary told local health campaigners last month that she was ruling out a new A&E department north of the river, she sugar-coated the pill by promising to protect and enhance services at the Vale of Leven Hospital. It is therefore hugely disappointing that the health board has announced that vital services will be removed from the Vale in the coming weeks. Over the past few years campaigners from every political party in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh have joined together to fight for a north of the river solution to A&E. It is time now for MSPs from all parties to put their differences aside to defend local health services. I hope that my colleagues in the SNP will sign my motion to secure the necessary cross-party support for a debate to be held. Patients in West Dunbartonshire and Helensburgh and Lomond expect us to work together on this issue and I am determined that we put up a united front against the removal of the blood clinic.”<