Constituency MSP Jackie Baillie has once again highlighted the ongoing closure of the Vale of Leven hospital’s Out-of-Hours service.
Patients in the area have expressed concerns that the service has been closed on more than 40 occasions already this year. That follows on from more than 80 closures in 2018, making the Vale of Leven Out-of-Hours service the most closed service in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.
During an exchange in the Scottish Parliament, Jamie Green, a West of Scotland regional MSP highlighted that last weekend (1st and 2nd June), the Vale of Leven Hospital Out of Hours was the only service open to patients in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area. Jackie praised the staff at the Vale for coping with the numbers of patients referred from all parts of the city, but pointed out that the facility was closed more than any other in Greater Glasgow & Clyde.
Information obtained by the MSP from Freedom of Information requests shows that the Vale of Leven’s out-of-hours has already been closed 44 times in the first four months of 2019, adding to the 83 times it was closed in 2018, due to a lack of available staff. In addition, patients who have contacted Jackie have highlighted that the service has also been closed a further three times in May and was closed on the 4th June.
Patients in the area are being forced to travel to the Royal Alexandria Hospital to access their A&E department, adding to the already-overwhelmed service in Paisley.
The most recent case which has been received by the MSP is of a constituent who tried to access the out-of-hours service being told it was closed and to travel to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow, despite not having access to his own transport.
“NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Out of Hours service was raised in the chamber by an MSP who highlighted that the Vale of Leven’s service was the only service available to patients last weekend.
“The irony is, of course, that the Vale of Leven’s service is usually the one that is closed, having been closed more times than any other hospital in the area in 2018.
“Time and time again I have urged the health board and the Cabinet Secretary to fix the problems at the Vale of Leven but my pleas, and those of my constituents, have not yet been answered. Just this week I have received more emails from constituents who were unable to access this most basic service.
“It is clear that the health board is completely unable to provide a consistent service to patients. That is why I’ve called for the service to be organised internally by the hospital’s GPs who currently run the rota for the Medical Assessment Unit or for salaried doctors to be employed.”