By Democrat reporter

Jeane Freeman, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, has sent a letter to Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, and other elected representatives, regarding the reopening of the Vale of Leven’s out of hours department.

Within the letter, Jeane Freeman acknowledges that this positive change is the result of a number of discussions between the health board and local GPs.

These were the discussions that Jackie Baillie asked Jeane Freeman to facilitate when she was invited to the Vale of Leven hospital, given the repeated problems with covering the out of hours service.

Jackie Baillie MSP said:  “The full re-opening of the Vale’s out of hours service could not have been achieved without the meetings that took place between myself, the Cabinet Secretary for Health, and Greater Glasgow and Clyde and most importantly of all, our local GPs.

“Finally – after almost two years of patchy access to out of hours provision, this service will begin running again at full capacity.

Labour Health spokesperson Jackie Baillie MSP and Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.

“This comes after years of campaigning by myself, local people and groups such as HospitalWatch – together, we fought to protect and reopen this service.

“Huge thanks must go to our local GPs for making this reopening possible. We owe them a debt of gratitude for putting the interests of local people first.

“Now more than ever, local people need easy access to vital health services.”

Meanwhile, the Health Board has issued a statement about the Out of Hours service at the Vale.

A spokesperson said: “Following a necessary temporary reduction in the GP Out of Hours Service in February 2020, NHSGGC made a commitment to re-establish the full overnight, weekend and evening service at the Vale of Leven.

“The full reinstatement of the service has now been achieved and will be delivered by the existing Integrated Care GP (ICGP) team at the Vale who historically provided the majority of cover for the GP Out of Hours, alongside a small number of GPs in the local area.

“Those GPs alongside additional ICGP staff were recruited via the standard recruitment process and we are thankful to all who applied.

“As part of the new model, which ensures a reliable, robust GP Out of Hours service can be delivered at the Vale, discussions are ongoing with a very small number of staff to either integrate their roles over to the new service or to offer transfers to other suitable departments.”

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