Who is to blame?
I was glad to see that James Kelly our constituency MSP is still on the ball over the GP out of hours issue.
He is right, the Scottish Government and NHS Lanarkshire are hoping that people will have forgotten about it and they can go ahead with the changes unchallenged.
They have been economical with the truth throughout and it seems the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing or so they would have us believe. I wrote to Shona Robison, the health minister and to the chief executive of NHS Lanarkshire who both have a don’t care attitude on this issue and are playing ping pong with it, batting it back and forward to each other to try to confuse the public. NHS Lanarkshire has all its plans in place for the changes and claims that they are awaiting the national review of out of hours services. The health minister claims they are waiting for the final outcome of the NHS Lanarkshire review. The public are no wiser.
This is an issue which affects everyone living in Rutherglen and Cambuslang. It’s a certainty that if GP out of hours is moved to Hamilton or Airdrie then we will also be expected to use Lanarkshire hospitals. As far as I am aware, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has not raised any issue about being able to provide an out of hours GP service in this area but I would like to see figures for the numbers from this area who use it. I have all the documents sent to me by James Kelly in January 2014 when I first raised this issue in the Reformer. No other politician took this up although they all jumped on the bandwagon just before the election. I have also read the consultation documents issued by NHS Lanarkshire. The figures for the numbers in Lanarkshire (not including Rutherglen and Cambuslang) who currently use the out of hours service don’t make sense and are simply not believable. They show that the overwhelming majority of users are children between the ages of zero and five who are brought there by car by their parents. I don’t believe the extremely low numbers of older people using the service and the numbers of home visits or referrals to hospital.
Our area has a disproportionately high number of elderly people per head of population. These are often people with complex medical needs. There is low car ownership here and there are still areas of high unemployment and economic deprivation.
NHS Lanarkshire would not have organised a public meeting at Rutherglen Town Hall if they were not planning changes. It was just a box ticking exercise to prove they had ‘consulted’ the public. They didn’t -they already had the only two options on the table, over which there had been no consultation, neither of which was the Victoria.
John Pentland, the constituency MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw has also protested about the loss of the GP out of hours service at Wishaw General Hospital. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has stated that all out of hours services should be located in hospitals. I know from personal experience how quickly a minor illness can escalate into an emergency.
Yet Margaret Ferrier MP claimed that Labour were “scaremongering” on this issue and there was never an intention to move our service away from the Victoria. The fact is it was me who first raised this issue in the Reformer in January 2014. She can accuse me of “scaremongering” if she likes but I wouldn’t advise it. I am not a member of any political party but a citizen of Rutherglen and one of her constituents. Why then was she standing outside Rutherglen Primary Care Centre in Stonelaw Road pre-election with her supporters waving placards demanding that the Centre be used as a local base if the Victoria was closed? Incidentally, that was my idea too, first mentioned in the Reformer. Likewise Councilllor Robert Brown claimed that if it wasn’t for him no one would have known about this issue. Wrong again but that’s the Lib Dems for you, claiming credit for everything.
I believe that in an emergency situation an ambulance is legally obliged to take a patient to the nearest hospital which can accept them. I think we should all exercise our human rights and demand to be treated at the nearest hospital and GP out of hours service.
We must get a cast iron guarantee from the Scottish Government and NHS Lanarkshire that we will be able to continue to use the GP out of hours service at the Victoria and all the Glasgow hospitals. I would also like to know who has mismanaged GP recruitment and provision. I am a proud Ruglonian but in this case, to quote the words of Harry Lauder “I Belong to Glasgow.” We are fed up of being treated as a colony, a poor relation, to be taken over by a larger power without our consent.
I meet lots of older people and they are very scared and are saying they would not be able to go to Hamilton or Airdrie and wouldn’t bother to contact a GP out of hours. Very young children and the very elderly can deteriorate rapidly. People will die if this goes ahead. Who is going to take the blame then or are they just going to bat it back and forth between themselves again? Dorothy Connor via email In reference to last week’s letters from opponents of the Cathkin Relief Road, I have just walked through this so called green space and how they can call it a “park” is beyond me.
There is even Giant Hogweed growing wild and cats waiting to descend on the mice as they pass.
This well needed piece of Road, which would be less than a mile long and is by no means a Motorway, will have crossing points just like there is on any other road to make it safe for the children and all pedestrians alike.
As for the wildlife, for goodness sake. Gill Gowran is concerned about the wild flowers (weeds), foxes that rake the bins, mice (vermin), birds, butterflies and bats.
Charlie Shaw has it right in one, it’s about the lazy dog walkers.
Money is available to do the job right so lets get it done
For the first time in about 45 years a fitness class are using a bit of grass for their exercises behind the Cathkin Parish Church, but weather permitting they will still be able to continue outside although they can do that anywhere, the Cuningar Loop opens next Spring perfect for fitness enthusiasts.
This really is a silly debate with no proper meaning as the only benefit is for dog walkers who can, as Charlie Shaw states, dispose of their excrement.
Children don’t play there as the grass is too long anyway they play their computers instead.
They can say what they like about insufficient traffic to warrant a lollipop person, but first thing in the morning and teatime traffic is a nightmare, north and south bound.
So lets get this road under way to streamline the traffic and make Blairbeth, Fernhill and Cathkin safer places. Ronnie Cotterill via email Going on holidays makes me happy! We’ve already been to PortAventura this year and we’re going back again in October. Peter Evans (65), Burnside.