The SNP Government’s failure to deal with the GP recruitment crisis is making the Vale of Leven Hospital an easy target for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde who need to make £69 million of savings by cutting key local health services, local MSP Jackie Baillie has said.
Her warning comes as new figures obtained by the Dumbarton MSP under Freedom of Information laws show that five of the six trainee GP posts at the hospital are unfilled. The health board is currently spending £677,000 per year on temporary locum doctors to fill the vacant junior doctor posts.
A leaked health board paper has already revealed that work is underway on plans to transfer emergency care to the RAH, close the community maternity unit and cut bed and staff numbers at the Vale of Leven Hospital. Jackie is calling for a cast-iron guarantee from the SNP that it will retain all current services at the Vale of Leven Hospital and reject all of the plans mentioned in the leaked health board paper.
“The fact that the health board is having to spend extraordinary sums of money because it cannot fill five of the six junior doctor posts at the Vale of Leven Hospital is a direct result of the SNP Government’s failure to get a grip of the recruitment crisis in our NHS. They have ignored the warning signs for months and now the Vale is becoming a target yet again for cuts.
“The health board has used the high cost of locum doctors as an excuse to cut local health services in the past and we should not be in any doubt about their plans to do so again in the future. We already know that the health board needs to save £69 million next year and they will be taking decisions after the election on which services to cut. This is too important to brush under the carpet until then.
“If the SNP Government is really serious about its commitment to the Vale of Leven Hospital then it must reject the health board’s cuts and guarantee that all current wards, clinics and services will remain at the Vale