JUNE 2016: NHS chiefs re­veal pro­pos­als to shut hos­pi­tal’s birthing unit OCT 2017: Re­view hails model and plans to use it as ex­am­ple for other sites

Lennox Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Lor­raine Weir

The clo­sure-threat­ened birthing unit at the Vale is to be held up as a model of good prac­tice — 16 months af­ter health board chiefs floated plans to shut it.

In June 2016, lo­cal peo­ple re­acted with fury at moves to trans­fer all births to the Royal Alexan­dra Hos­pi­tal in Pais­ley. Af­ter a year of un­cer­tainty, NHS Greater Glas­gow and Clyde de­cided to pause on their con­tro­ver­sial plans while a na­tional re­view was con­sid­ered.

As a re­sult of this, the Vale will now play a lead­ing role in how birthing ser­vices op­er­ate across Scot­land as a pi­lot lo­ca­tion for a new model of care.

Cam­paign­ers have said they are pleased but still con­cerned about the long-term fu­ture of the unit.

MSP Jackie Bail­lie (right) said: “The threat of clo­sure has been hang­ing over the head of the Vale birthing unit for nearly two years, so I am pleased that we fi­nally have some good news.”

But the MSP urged health bosses to work ur­gently to boost birth num­bers which have “con­tin­ued to fall due to the un­cer­tainty caused by the clo­sure plans”.

Around 20 pa­tients a week are be­ing sent to other hos­pi­tals across Greater Glas­gow and Clyde af­ter aVale lab had to close sud­denly.

Due to a staff mem­ber be­ing on be­reave­ment leave, the ser­vice of­fer­ing di­ag­nos­tic test­ing at the res­pi­ra­tory lung func­tion lab­o­ra­tory is cur­rently shut.

Alan John­ston from He­lens­burgh was told he would have to go to Gart­navel for an ap­point­ment which was meant to take place at theVale this month.

He said:“As a pa­tient with an ap­point­ment to at­tend the res­pi­ra­tory depart­ment lab at the Vale of Leven, I was sur­prised and dis­ap­pointed to have the ap­point­ment can­celled and given one at Gart­navel in­stead.

“While I am re­lieved to be given an ap­point­ment else­where, it is alarm­ing and con­cern­ing that I was un­able to make any fur­ther ap­point­ment at theVale due to the res­pi­ra­tory lab be­ing closed.

“Given that this clinic is well used by those in this area there must be guar­an­tees and re­as­sur­ances from the health board that this clo­sure is only tem­po­rary.”

A spokes­woman for NHS Greater Glas­gow and Clyde re­sponded to the con­cerns con­firm­ing that only one mem­ber of staff is trained to carry out the“highly spe­cialised pro­ce­dures” which in­clude sleep stud­ies tests.

She added: “Un­for­tu­nately this per­son is on be­reave­ment leave but the pro­ce­dures will restart as soon as this mem­ber of staff re­turns.

“We can­not con­firm a date for when the ser­vice will re­sume.We are, how­ever, keep­ing the is­sue un­der re­view and an­tic­i­pate that it will be avail­able at theVale within a mat­ter of weeks.”

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