Another blow in fight to save Vale Hospital
But MSP Baillie accuses government of cover up
A leadingVale Hospital campaigner fears the place is “waiting to die”after it was dealt another blow this week.
Jim Moohan – who has demanded Health secretary shona Robison meets the Hospitalwatch group which has spent 13 long years trying to protect the local facility – has reacted to a document which proposes £333million cuts across the board in a bid to centralise services.the paper was originally due to go in front of health board chiefs last year but was recalled before the meeting in December when the future of theVale’s maternity unit was scheduled to be discussed.
the report, seen by the Lennox Herald, sets out why NHs greater glasgow and Clyde must transform the delivery of
The First Minister promised to protect services at the Vale of Leven Hospital after coming under fire over feared cuts.
Nicola Sturgeon made the vow at Holyrood last week when being grilled over a report that sets out £333million of cuts and what has been dubbed the “sweeping centralisation of services” by MSP Jackie Baillie.
During First Minister’s Questions last week, the Dumbarton politician accused the Scottish Government of covering up the extent of proposals in the paper and reacted to a document due to go in front of health board chiefs last year but was recalled prior to the meeting in December.
Jackie said: “It is clear that talk about shifting the balance of care is being used by that health board as a cover for cuts.
“Specifically, the report talks about cutting unscheduled care assessment and admission points. On that basis, will the First Minister guarantee what she promised in the Vision for the Vale — that the medical assessment unit will remain in place?”
Responding to the question, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Jackie Baillie is being slightly misleading in her question because she refers to a report that was never discussed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde because the chair of the board said that he did not agree with it and did not think that it should go forward for discussion.
“The health secretary has also made it clear that, had such a report gone forward for discussion, she would not have approved any of its proposals.
“For Jackie Baillie to try to give the impression that the report somehow represents the policy of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, or of the Scottish Government, is misleading.
“This government will continue to do what it has done since day one in 2007 and what the previous Labour administration failed to do over many years, which is to protect services at the Vale of Leven Hospital.”
Ms Baillie believes that the response echoes comments made by the SNP exactly a year ago when a leaked health board paper showed that the Vale of Leven maternity unit was under threat.
Shona Robison confirmed to the Lennox Herald in January last year “we are committed to maintaining and improving services at Vale of Leven Hospital”, yet last summer it emerged that plans were afoot to shut the community maternity unit at the Alexandria site.
Ms Baillie, who has backed the Lennox Herald’s Save Our Services campaign, added: “The SNP’s reassurances about cuts at the Vale of Leven Hospital sound hollow.
“We heard the same excuses this time last year.
“I was accused of scaremongering for campaigning to protect our local services.
“SNP Ministers made flying visits to West Dunbartonshire during the election campaign to make promises about the Vision for the Vale.
“Then, barely a few weeks after the election, the health board finally confirmed in black and white that the plans to close the birthing unit were going ahead.”
She added: “I will stand alongside local campaigners, patients and NHS staff to defend our local services.”
setback Jim Moohan has seen documents outlining more cuts
Fight MSP Jackie Baillie and Anas Sarwar outside the Vale maternity unit
Campaign Protestors marching to protect the Vale hospital