Local MSP Jackie Baillie has warned that local NHS services will face even more brutal cuts unless the SNP Government steps in to bail out the cash-strapped health board.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has confirmed that it has a shortfall of £122 million in 2017/18, which includes a deficit of £29.6 million carried forward from last year. The gap in funding has increased from £105.9 million predicted last December. In an official announcement the health board said that it is “currently unable to predict a break-even position for 2017/18 and we continue to identify further savings schemes.”
A number of cuts have already been agreed to make up for most of the shortfall but officials are still looking for ways to save a further £20 million this year, sparking fears that more services will face the axe.
Jackie Baillie has called on the Health Secretary to make emergency funds available to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to take the pressure off health board budgets and prevent the closure of even more local services.
One of the saving schemes identified is the proposed closure of birthing services at the Vale of Leven Hospital and the health board will make a decision next week (Tuesday 27 June). If the board decides to go ahead with the proposals the final decision will be taken by the Health Secretary.
“The reality is that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is facing a worse than expected budget shortfall of £122 million. This is a huge concern for patients in West Dunbartonshire, Helensburgh and Lomond. This will mean even more brutal cuts to local services at the Vale of Leven Hospital over and above the cuts to GP out-of-hours.
“The Health Secretary must guarantee additional emergency funding to close the gap or bear responsibility when the axe falls on more local NHS services. After ten years of mismanagement and underfunding, how much longer do we have to wait before the SNP will take action to stop the cuts?”
Commenting on the decision regarding the Vale maternity proposals, Jackie added:
“The proposed cuts to maternity services have been roundly rejected by the people of Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond and the health board should scrap the plans once and for all on Tuesday.
“I have campaigned against the closure of the unit ever since the plans were first made public in January last year. Together with the support of the local community, we successfully won the argument that this should be considered as a ‘major service change’, ensuring that the Health Secretary has the final say on closure. The threat of closure has been hanging over the Vale of Leven service for too long now and it is time for the health board to end the uncertainty