Jackie Baillie MSP, Vale Hospital and Jeane Freeman, Health Secretary.
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond has written to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the Scottish Government demanding assurances about the future of the GP Out of Hours Service.
This follows an announcement from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde that GP Out of Hours services would be moving to a ‘by appointment’ service. This announcement was made on 1 June – on the day that the appointment-only service began.
Jackie Baillie has raised concerns as to the lack of any warning or consultation in regard to this change to the Out of Hours service and believes that the appointment-only system will result in A&E waiting times increasing and vulnerable people being sent elsewhere to be seen.
The ‘by appointment’ service is currently running as a way to deal with the difficulties presented by Covid-19.
However, Jackie Baillie fears that the decision to make this a permanent change will not address the current problem that Out of Hours services have a severe lack of GPs.
She also believes that due to a lack of communication between NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS 24, patients will be sent elsewhere because NHS 24 is often unaware as to what services are running at the Vale of Leven Hospital due to conflicting information from the health board.
Jackie Baillie MSP said “I am disappointed to learn that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has made the decision to permanently change the way that the Out of Hours service runs without any notice or consultation.
“Local residents in my constituency rely on the service that the Vale of Leven Out of Hours provides and I know that many will be concerned about what this change means for the future of the service in the long term.
“The ‘by appointment’ service is currently running as a way to cope with the difficulties presented by Covid-19.
“However, making this change permanent doesn’t begin to address the problem of a lack of GPs on the rota or worries about access to face to face consultations with GPs.
“This seems to be about centralising the service so you could be talking to a GP anywhere in Greater Glasgow & Clyde, whether it’s by phone or screen. The danger is that people will vote with their feet and end up at the front door of A&E instead.
“We are already aware that, due to a lack of communication between NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and NHS 24, the phone service is often unaware of what departments and services are running at the Vale from day to day.
“I know of local people who have been sent to other hospitals rather than to the Vale of Leven because of this misinformation.
“I have written to NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and the Cabinet Secretary, Jeane Freeman, demanding assurances about the future of our Out Of Hours Service.”