New cuts in child immunisations in rural areas have been defended by the NHS.
The service will no longer be provided in village GP surgeries, being centralised in Helensburgh instead.
But the end of the service in Kilcreggan, Arrochar and Garelochhead was defended this week as giving parents ‘flexibility and choice’ – despite cancellations and reductions in recent years because of staffing shortages.
Posters appeared in GP surgeries this week saying that from September 12 children would have to go to a childhood immunisation centre in the medical centre on East King Street in Helensburgh.
Appointment letters will be sent to parents saying when they will need to make a round trip which could be 36 miles further than currently, with limited capacity for young children on public transport.
Last year officials refused to comment on whether there was a staffing shortage affecting health visitors in the area, following reductions in the frequency of child health and immunisation clinics in villages.
But this week a spokesman for Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We are piloting a new model of providing preschool immunisations in the Helensburgh and Lomond locality and clinics will now be delivered from a central location in Helensburgh.
“This will provide us with the opportunity to increase the frequency of clinics to three times a week, compared to the previous once a month in other areas of the locality, and we hope that this will provide much more flexibility and choice for parents.”