Cash up front demand prices elderly out of services and patients told to ask for treatment at the Vale
Jackie Baillie MSP, Health Board chief exec Jane Grant and Vale of Leven Hospital.
By Democrat reporter
Dumbarton and Lomond MSP Jackie Baillie MSP called for swift and effective care for stroke patients as the Scottish Stroke Care Audit report shows that more than 30% of stroke patients in the local health board area did not receive an ‘appropriate’ Stroke Care Bundle.
In 2018, 2,390 stroke patients were admitted to hospitals in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and more than 700 of those patients did not receive appropriate care.
The health board is currently ranked 9th out of 14 health board areas for stroke care in Scotland.
Jackie Baillie said: “We know that swift and effective care for stroke patients saves lives and leads to the best possible recovery for patients. It is unacceptable that hundreds of stroke patients in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are not receiving the care that they need.
“Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland are calling on the Scottish Government to bring back Thrombectomy in Scotland. The procedure has the potential to reduce disability and dependency in stroke patients.
“It is clear that the Scottish Government must stop playing catch-up on stroke care and ensure that patients get the treatment that they need.”
Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie has urged local patients to ask for appointments at the Vale of Leven hospital as the health board confirm that patients will be offered appointments at the site where possible.
A letter from Jane Grant, Chief Executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, responded to concerns from the MSP that patients from the Vale of Leven hospital catchment area are being sent to hospitals in Paisley or beyond for routine appointments, when they could have been seen at the Vale.
This follows the case of a local woman who was offered appointments at the RAH in Paisley and hospitals in Glasgow, when the procedure could have been done at the Vale of Leven hospital a week earlier.
The health board’s Chief Executive confirmed that: “Patients who are added to the waiting list for the Vale of Leven Hospital (VoL) will be offered the VoL site, where possible, in the first instance.”
Ms Baillie said:“I have been told story after story of patients from our area who are being expected to travel to Paisley or even into Glasgow for treatment which could be done at the Vale.
“The health board has now confirmed that patients who ask for the Vale of Leven hospital will be treated there if the service is available.
“While I realise that for some patients waiting simply is not an option and they have to accept the first available appointment they are offered, I also know that for many people the convenience of being seen at the Vale is much more crucial than an early appointment. It is also the case that being seen at the Vale can often be quicker.
“I would encourage patients who wish to be seen at the Vale to make sure that they stipulate this when booking appointments so that the Vale becomes the first site offered to people in our community.”
On the elderly care front, the MSP has called on West Dunbartonshire Council to rethink their budget changes to day care services as elderly and disabled residents are asked to pay a year’s worth of charges up front.
In April, West Dunbartonshire Council changed how residents paid to use their day care services introducing a £10 fixed rate which replaced the ancillary charges for transport, lunch and activities. Not only has this meant that service users have experienced an increase in cost but many service users are now paying for services, such as transport, that they may not need.
In addition, service users are now being issued with annual invoices for payment rather than being able to pay on the day. While there is an option to pay monthly, for many people this is a huge monthly cost, almost double what they would have been paying previously.
One constituent who contacted the MSP highlighted that as a carer for his 95-year-old mother, he was previously paying £6 per week for her to attend a day care service on a Monday. He has now been advised that the charges have increased to £10 and that this must be paid by monthly direct debit rather than in cash at the centre.
The constituent, who works for the Council, is concerned that he will not be able to cope with the increased costs as his wages have not risen in line with this increased charge.
Jackie Baillie said: “The SNP Council’s charges for day care service which they increased in this year’s budget mean that service users across West Dunbartonshire are being asked to pay almost double what they were previously paying. In addition, many will be paying for services that they don’t need.
“For many people, these increases will simply be a cost too far. The Council will be penalising the elderly and disabled as they did with the increase in charges for alarms and some people may need to withdraw from services because they can’t afford them.
“This is a backward step and I would urge the Council to think again as these services are for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”