By Democrat reporter

Jackie Baillie, the Scottish Labour candidate for Dumbarton constituency and the party’s Health and Social Care spokesperson, has said there is a need for a new vision for the future of the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria.

Baillie, who has represented Dumbarton constituency for twenty two years, has said that because of the lasting impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our health service, ‘we can’t go back to the way we used to do things’ when it comes to delivering healthcare. More needs to be delivered locally and services therefore need to return to the Vale.

Jackie Baillie has called for a ‘new vision for the Vale of Leven hospital’. This new vision will be based on a renewed needs assessment of the local population to consider what additional support and services are required to meet the community’s needs in the future.

Baillie has also called for both inpatient, outpatient and crisis mental health services to be delivered from the Vale in order to allow for local people to have easy access to support when they are suffering from mental ill health. This service would be additional to the much valued Acorn Centre for children and will provide for adults.

The plans build on the range of existing valuable services provided at the Vale such as cancer treatment; ophthalmology, dialysis, maternity and much more besides.  Baillie has called for an increase in equipment such as scanners so more diagnostics are available on site and the return of the full lab service so that results can be returned quickly.

The most significant call that Baillie has made is for a return of more emergency services to the Vale of Leven hospital in order to treat more people safely and locally. Currently, residents have to travel much further afield for emergency care.

Jackie Baillie said:  “The pandemic has devastated our healthcare system and both staff and services have been stretched to breaking point. As we enter a period of recovery, we simply cannot go back to the way that we used to do things.

“My vision for the Vale will see services brought back, expanded and strengthened. We need funding for new, state of the art equipment alongside on-site labs in order to see, diagnose and treat more local people, quicker.

“I am calling for emergency care services to be brought back to the Vale so that more people are treated locally and safely.

“I know that our community cares deeply about the Vale of Leven hospital – and I do too, because it’s my local hospital. Over the years, every time the health board has inflicted another cut on our hospital, we as a community have joined together to stand up for our services. We’ve marched, held hands around the hospital and petitioned the Scottish Government.

“I will continue to work with local people, campaigners like Hospitalwatch and local GPs to put the Vale of Leven hospital first.”

Jim Moohan, of Hospitalwatch, said: “Jackie Baillie has fought tooth and nail to protect services at Vale of Leven Hospital.

“She stood shoulder to shoulder with Hospitalwatch and local GPs tyo get the out of hours department back up and running at full capacity.”

Baillie also fought a good fight to turn around as decision not to make available the Orkambi and Symkevi fibrosis drugs, which were both rejected by the Scottish Medicines Consortium.

These life-changing drugs for cystic fibrosis sufferers have been the subject of a long campaign by Renton woman Kelli Gallacher, pictured left.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon then ensured that Orkambi and Symkevi were available to all cystic fibrosis sufferers in Scotland.

A grateful Kelli Gallacher said: “I have never met someone who works as hard or who cares as much about our local area as Jackie Baillie.

“She was there for me when I needed her and as a community we are so lucky to have her in our corner.”

Caption: Jackie Bailie and Labour leader Anas Sarwar at Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandria.

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