Labour Urges Ministers To Protect Local Health Services

28 September 2016, 07:11 | Updated: 28 September 2016, 07:18

Labour is to use a Holyrood debate to urge Scottish ministers to "call-in'' health board proposals for changes to services.

The party will force a vote on protecting local NHS services and call for the backing of SNP MSPs who represent communities that would be affected.

The Labour motion says maternity services at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria and Inverclyde Hospital in Greenock, paediatric services at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and trauma orthopaedics at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie are all at risk.

It also raises concern over inpatient services at the Centre for Integrated Care in Glasgow, cleft palate services at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh and the closure of Glasgow's Lightburn Hospital.

Labour argues that Health Secretary Shona Robison could call-in proposals for downgrading or closure of services from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Lothian by deeming them "major service changes'' requiring ministerial approval.

The party's health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: "Labour is making a simple proposal today - the SNP Government should call in all of these proposals and then reject each and every one.

"Our NHS staff are facing ever-increasing stress whilst services face the axe. We have to do something. These cuts will have a direct impact on them and on patient care.

"It would be completely unacceptable for the SNP Government to sit back and watch vital local services be hit with cuts, closures or downgrades. Especially when the SNP promised these services would be safe before the election.

"Labour will give an opportunity to SNP MSPs to put their communities first. MSPs are sent to the Scottish Parliament to stand up for their constituents - it's time to do it.''

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "This government has a proud history of protecting and enhancing local NHS services.

"For example, we saved the A&E departments at Monklands and Ayr hospitals, overturned proposals to close Lightburn Hospital and ended a decade of damaging uncertainty by outlining plans for the future of Vale of Leven Hospital.

"This administration has also delivered record funding and staffing levels for the health service in Scotland.

"Whilst it is right for health boards to keep services under review to ensure they remain of the highest quality, any proposals designated as major change must be subject to formal public consultation and, ultimately, ministerial approval.

"NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is working with the independent Scottish Health Council to help determine which proposals should be designated as major, and to ensure that the board's engagement arrangements are inclusive and appropriate.''