Questions asked as GP service at hospital is closed on Sunday

MSP Jackie Baillie has demanded answers after the Vale of Leven Hospital’s GP out-of-hours service was closed during daytime last weekend.

Patients on Sunday were instead referred to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

The future of the out-of-hours service is currently under review and Ms Baillie has challenged Health Secretary Shona Robison to issue a clear guarantee that staff shortages will not be used as an excuse to slash opening hours at the Vale of Leven Hospital.

“It is disappointing that we are still experiencing temporary closures almost a whole year on since the staffing issues first came to light,” she said.

“There may have been a good reason for the closure on Sunday but this has been going on for months. What have Shona Robison and the health board been doing all this time?

“Out-of-hours is a basic service which is a core component of any local healthcare system. It is not an optional extra and our local GPs agree that any plans to reduce the service would put lives at risk.

“Many local families don’t have access to a car and public transport to Paisley is virtually non-existent on Sundays so a whole section of our population is effectively denied access to local health services.”

A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde confirmed that on Sunday patients were directed to the RAH between 8.30am and 3.30pm, but said the unit was open for the rest of the weekend.

She added: “Whilst we continue to strive to fill every GP rota every week, we are also reviewing how best to deliver a sustainable GP out of hours service in West Dunbartonshire and across Greater Glasgow and Clyde in the longer term.

“The review is part of a wider discussion on how to enhance the overall out-of-hours health and social care services for all our patients.

“We would remind any patient not to attend a GP out-of-hours service without first calling NHS 24 who will direct them to most appropriate healthcare service for their needs.”

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