Local MSP Jackie Baillie has challenged the First Minister to stop playing games and put party politics aside to protect services at the Vale of Leven Hospital.
Elected representatives from Scottish Labour, SNP and the Conservatives joined forces on Monday night to back calls for the Health Secretary’s intervention to save the Vale of Leven birthing unit.
The leader of the SNP Group on West Dunbartonshire Council, Cllr Jonathan McColl, told 200 people at a public meeting: “if the Cabinet Secretary is not doing her job then I am going to tell her and hold her to account. She has said she is committed to the Vale. The problem is that we’ve got to make sure she sticks to that.”
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions today, Jackie asked Nicola Sturgeon if she agreed with Cllr McColl and whether the SNP Government will stick to the Vision for the Vale.
“I welcomed the cross-party support on display from all corners at the public meeting on Monday night. The future of our local hospital is more important than party politics and it is only right that local elected representatives should come together to oppose cuts at the Vale.
“I don’t always agree with Cllr McColl but the First Minister should have listened to what he had to say on Monday. Nicola Sturgeon could have used her answer to guarantee the future of our local maternity services. She could have instructed her Health Secretary to intervene to stop the cuts. She could have even denounced the health board’s plans to rip up the promises in the Vision for the Vale. Instead, all she wanted to talk about was Labour.
“If the SNP Government refuses to step in to save services at the Vale it will be ignoring the will of parliament, the will of its own local councillors and, most importantly, the will of people in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh. It’s time for the Health Secretary to show some leadership, take the decision on the Vale maternity out of the health board’s hands and deliver on her promises to protect local health services.”