Let’s fight for the hospital
THERE is a real and present danger that the hospital in Oban could be downgraded.
NHS Highland has announced a review of the services provided in at Lorn and Islands Hospital – to give it its proper name – including A&E provision, moving away from a hospital to a community facility, surgical work, maximising partnership and networks, ‘realistic medicine’ and ‘financially sustainability’. This is a harbinger of swingeing cuts to come.
I was previously editor of the Lennox Herald covering West Dunbartonshire and launched a campaign that is still running to save existing services at Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria and to restore some that had been removed.
We were given cast-iron guarantees that the future of the Vale hospital was secure and that no further cuts were planned.
These pledges were not worth the paper they were written on.
Despite Scotland’s health secretary Shona Robison platitudes, further damaging cuts have been inflicted on the Vale. Now the attention has turned to Oban. People in Argyll already have to travel significant distances to access treatment for a number of illnesses and conditions, often incorporating exhausting and expensive journeys to Glasgow, Paisley and elsewhere.
It is absolutely vital that we all demand hands off the Lorn and Islands Hospital. Once the cuts begin, there is a genuine danger that the facility will be damaged to the point where its whole viability is called into question. If that happens, it could be catastrophic.
But even the admission that A&E is to be scrutinised is scandalous. If they shut down the emergency unit, then where would we go? Inverness? Glasgow? It cannot be Vale of Leven because its A&E is already closed.
Closing A&E at Oban will cost lives. Let’s not let that happen.
How we reported the council’s claims last week.