Vale’s fu­ture is safe, cam­paign­ers as­sured

But bosses still eva­sive on cash

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Jenny Foulds

Vale hospi­tal cam­paign­ers grilled health chiefs about the fu­ture of the cuts-hit Vale hospi­tal - but say bosses dodged ques­tions about fi­nance.

Mem­bers of Hospi­tal­watch met with the chair of NHS Greater Glas­gow and Clyde John Brown and chief ex­ec­u­tive Jane Grant and said the dis­cus­sion was largely pos­i­tive, de­spite not get­ting all the an­swers they sought.

A list of ser­vices have been axed at the hospi­tal since 2002 with a fur­ther two still fac­ing an uncertain fu­ture.

Cam­paigner Jim Moohan said, af­ter the meeting: “We raised a num­ber of points in­clud­ing cap­i­tal in­vest­ment, in­fra­struc­ture, geog­ra­phy, trans­porta­tion dif­fi­cul­ties, skills and ser­vices with the aim of, in our view, sta­bil­is­ing the hospi­tal go­ing for­ward.

“Mr Brown made it very clear that the hospi­tal would not close and was part of a gen­eral dis­cus­sion on proper pro­cess­ing and plan­ning for the fu­ture un­der a na­tional strat­egy.

“It was ac­knowl­edged by the chair that a great deal of mis­trust ex­isted in the com­mu­ni­ties of West Dun­bar­ton­shire and Ar­gyll and that the is­sue had to be ad­dressed.

“We were given an in­sight into the man­ner con­sul­ta­tion would be done in the fu­ture to as­sist that trust fac­tor.

“They didn’t an­swer ques­tions on what the five to 10 year spend­ing plan was or ques­tions on the in­vest­ment of in­fra­struc­ture.

“It was pos­i­tive in that the spirit of the meeting was good. Over the 90 min­utes, we touched on a num­ber of ar­eas.

“How­ever, we didn’t get the fi­nan­cial as­sur­ances we re­ally wanted — we re­ally need a fi­nan­cial back­bone for the fu­ture.”

The group high­lighted the huge num­ber of cuts which have hit the hospi­tal over the past 15 years and they spoke about the hospi­tal’s over­hang­ing threat of cuts, in­clud­ing plans to slash the GP out-of-hours ser­vice to week­ends only.

Jim added: “It’s also worth not­ing the health board hasn’t chal­lenged any­thing in our press state­ment af­ter the meeting so as far as we are con­cerned, they are ac­cept­ing where we are.”

A spokesman for NHSGGC told the Lennox Her­ald that the health chiefs re­as­sured cam­paign­ers that the Vale is part of the board’s long terms plans.

He said NHSGGC is work­ing to im­ple­ment a Na­tional Clin­i­cal Strat­egy and Health and So­cial Care De­liv­ery Plan, mean­ing more spe­cialised ser­vices will be de­liv­ered in cen­tres of clin­i­cal ex­cel­lence in re­gions or at a na­tional level.

At the meeting, Mr Brown gave a com­mit­ment that res­i­dents will be kept fully in­formed.

Speak­ing af­ter­wards, he said: “Hope­fully, this meeting will be seen as a pos­i­tive step to­wards im­prov­ing the public’s con­fi­dence in the health board and help put an end to the no­tion that the Vale of Leven Hospi­tal is un­der threat of clo­sure.”

Speak­ing about the up­com­ing “mod­erni­sa­tion” of the NHS, he added: “It would be wrong to as­sume that change presents risks to the fu­ture of the hospi­tal. The Vale’s fu­ture is guar­an­teed and the de­vel­op­ment of in­te­grated health and so­cial care lo­cally is as­sured. That was the clear mes­sage we were able to give Hospi­tal­watch.”

Dum­bar­ton MSP Jackie Bail­lie added: “I con­grat­u­late the Hospi­tal­watch team for se­cur­ing this meeting and I would urge the health board to keep the cam­paign and the lo­cal com­mu­nity closely in­volved in fu­ture.

“The launch of a full-scale re­view of ev­ery hospi­tal site in the re­gion next year is hugely im­por­tant for the Vale of Leven Hospi­tal and I will work with Hospi­tal­watch and others to ar­gue for the de­liv­ery of more ser­vices lo­cally and an end to cen­tral­i­sa­tion south of the river.”

Talks Hospi­tal­watch mem­bers Mick Con­roy, Jim Moohan, health board chair John Brown, Mon­ica Wild and Rev Ian Miller

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