24 January 2018


Base - Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon


Patients and campaigners at the Vale of Leven Hospital cannot trust Nicola Sturgeon after the SNP Government approved plans to close the children’s ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, it was alleged this week.

That was the message from local MSP Jackie Baillie today as she questioned Health Secretary Shona Robison on the decision in the Scottish Parliament.

Shona Robison faced fierce criticism from the Dumbarton MSP for agreeing the closure of the children’s ward despite Nicola Sturgeon’s denial that such proposals existed before the election.

Nicola Sturgeon visited West Dunbartonshire just weeks before the election and made similar promises to stick to the Vision for the Vale and protect local health services in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh.

Speaking at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, Jackie said:  “There is no getting away from the fact that the First Minister was asked in a TV debate whether the children’s ward at the RAH would close.

“And she was clear, she would not close that ward. And the cabinet secretary knows that there were proposals to close the ward before May 2016.

“The First Minister has of course given similar commitments to my local community about the Vale of Leven Hospital. This is fundamentally a question of trust, and the key question for me is whether we can trust anything that the First Minister tells us.”

During the leaders’ TV debate on 1 May 2016, Nicola Sturgeon was asked by Gordon Clark about plans to close the maternity unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. Ms Sturgeon said:  “I will absolutely give a commitment that we will keep services as local as they need to be. There’s no proposals to close that particular ward.”

A video of the exchange can be viewed here:

Speaking at the Cabinet meeting in Clydebank in February 2016, Nicola Sturgeon said:  “The Vale is a vital part of your local health service and we are going to make sure it continues to be for many years to come, and that includes that making sure emergency services are retained at the Vale of Leven.”

Nicola Sturgeon’s interview prior to cabinet meeting with the Lennox Herald, February 2016:  “Removing emergency services would run counter to the Vision For The Vale now. As with any health board, if they want to propose a major service change, there’s a process they have to go through that ultimately in some cases would involve ministerial decision.  We’re not going to approve changes at the Vale of Leven that would run counter to the Vision For The Vale because that’s important for making sure that the Vale continues as a strong local hospital.”


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