Patients urged to stay local at Vale
Travel to clinics sparks concern
Patients should insist on receiving non-emergency treatment at Vale of Leven Hospital.
That is the cry this week from Hospitalwatch campaigners who are concerned that too many Vale of Leven and Dumbarton residents are being forced to travel further afield unnecessarily for outpatient appointments.
The Vale Hospital delivers a host of day clinics in areas including haematology, gynaecology, renal, diabetes and oncology.
However, campaign group Hospitalwatch claim that these are being bypassed and some patients are being sent to Paisley, Glasgow and Inverclyde for treatment instead.
Jim Moohan, chairman of Hospitalwatch, described the situation as “worrying” and encouraged people to make a stand for local treatment.
He said: “I would advise local residents to ask to be directed to the Vale of Leven Hospital.
“They have got a right of choice and, when speaking to their GP or consultant, they can insist on being treated locally where possible.
“My wife’s daughter travelled to Inverclyde and the consultant asked her, ‘why are you not going down to Alexandria?’
“I was speaking to someone recently who was in Paisley and the ward was filled with people from the Vale area.
“We’ve heard of other similar cases, it’s happening on a more regular basis - which undermines the services we have at Vale of Leven Hospital.”
A collection of clinics operate at the hospital, alongside the medical assessment/minor injuries unit, under threat maternity services and elderly block.
During a debate on the Vale of Leven Hospital last month, SNP public health minister Aileen Campbell said that patient activity had increased by 36 percent since 2009/10.
Jim Moohan said: “The feedback we’ve been getting the past few weeks is that these clinics are not being used as much as they should be.
“It’s concerning, especially if it’s to paint a picture that the Vale clinics are not being used as they should, or if the health board playing around with hospital appointments to reduce waiting times.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Patients are offered the first available appointment at any one of our hospitals within the national Treatment Time Guarantee (TTG). They can decline this offer and request a specific hospital.
“Whilst patients do have the right to specify the hospital they wish to attend for their procedure, they are advised that in doing so they may not receive their procedure within the national waiting times guarantee. This is national regulations which are applied across the whole of the NHS in Scotland.
“There are a wide range of surgical and medical outpatient clinics at the hospital and no plans to reduce or remove these.”
The number of patients attending outpatient clinics at the Vale of Leven Hospital remains consistent year on year.
Meanwhile, Jim Moohan and fellow Hospitalwatch members Mick Conroy and Michael Mulkern staged a demonstration outside the SNP conference at Glasgow’s SECC on Saturday.
The trio made their feelings known at the SECC with ‘Vale of Leven Hospital Save Our Services’ banners and lobbied SNP MSPs and party members as they walked through the doors.
Jim said: “It was only a small delegation of campaigners but we spoke with SNP party members and some were unaware of the state of the hospital or that so few services are left.
“Others were busy blaming Jackie Baillie and the Labour party for commencing with the destruction of the hospital.
“We know Labour are also at fault but all political parties need to stand together as one and give a commitment to the community on the future of the Vale Hospital.”
Clinics not being used as much as they should Jim Moohan
Hospitalwatch JIm Moohan is concerned that too many Vale of Leven and Dumbarton residents are being forced to travel unnecessarily for appointments 200616JIM_MOOHAN_04
Campaign Hospitalwatch want local people to take a stand