An­other blow in fight to save Vale Hospi­tal

But MSP Bail­lie ac­cuses gov­ern­ment of cover up

Lennox Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Lor­raine Weir

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

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