Local SNP politicians have been posted missing in action this week after dodging key meetings and blocking debate on the cuts at the Vale of Leven Hospital.
On Monday, 300 local people attended a packed meeting in Alexandria to hear from local GPs and to oppose the cuts at out-of-hours services but the SNP failed to send a single representative. The Leader of the Council, Jonathan McColl, and the Deputy Provost, Karen Conaghan, did not respond to invitations to attend.
On Tuesday, the SNP Council Leader did not attend crunch talks at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board on the future of the Vale maternity service. Jonathan McColl is West Dunbartonshire’s sole representative on the health board, receiving £8000 a year on top of his £33,000 council salary, but he told the full council meeting last night that there was ‘nothing important’ on the agenda.
On Wednesday, the SNP Provost of the Council, William Hendrie, used his powers as the Chair of the meeting to block Labour’s call for a debate on the threat to GP out-of-hours services. If Labour’s motion had been accepted for debate, councillors would have been able to vote to convene a special meeting of the Health and Social Care Partnership to rule out cuts at the Vale of Leven Hospital.
Local MSP Jackie Baillie said:
“This is three days of shame for the SNP. The Nationalists promised to stand up for the Vale of Leven Hospital but they have let our local community down at each and every opportunity by failing to show up to key meetings and ducking debate in the Council.
“If Cllr McColl had bothered to show up to the health board meeting he could have forced a vote to reject the cuts to maternity services once and for all. West Dunbartonshire only has one representative on the health board and we need a strong voice who is prepared to fight for the Vale of Leven Hospital. Instead we have an SNP Council Leader who goes into hiding at the most critical time for our local services.”
Labour councillor David McBride said:
“The Provost is supposed to be an impartial chair so it was astonishing to see him block a debate on a matter which is so important to residents in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven. It seems that the new minority administration will not accept any criticism of the SNP. So much for being open and transparent.
“The consultation on closing midweek services at the GP out-of-hours will be run by the Health and Social Care Partnership and Labour councillors will continue to press for a vote as soon as possible to rule out any cuts