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Homepage / News / Vale of Leven Hospital out-of-hours problems due to be resolved
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News, Outside MAN

Vale of Leven Hospital out-of-hours problems due to be resolved

“Nightmare” problems which have caused chaos with patients trying to see a doctor urgently at the Vale of Leven Hospital look set to be resolved.

But, despite earlier indications suggesting a new system run by GPs would be up and running by the end of October, health chiefs this week confirmed the details of the arrangement are still to be finalised.

The unit has been dogged by problems for several years with frequent short-notice closures forcing patients to have to travel to either the Royal Alexandra Hospital or Gartnavel for treatment.

Residents were told there would be a resolution in June following the publication of a report into unscheduled care.

The report by Sir Lewis Ritchie has still not fed back but doctors have taken it upon themselves to try and come up with a new system which it is believed will provide a more robust service.

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The idea for doctors locally to organise the schedule was first put forward during a public meeting held by Hospitalwatch and Jackie Baillie MSP earlier this year.

But the Labour politician is concerned that the new regime isn’t yet in place with an NHS Greater Glasgow and Health Board spokeswoman saying “the exact format of this has not yet been agreed”.

Jackie told the Lennox Herald : “For almost two years, the out-of-hours service has suffered from continual closures meaning patients from my constituency have been forced to travel miles to access a basic health service.

“It is clear that the model being used by the health board simply isn’t working. And patients are suffering as a consequence.

“In 2018, the out-of-hours service was closed more than 80 times, and it has been closed more than 50 times in the first five months of 2019. These numbers are shocking.

“NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde promised to explore the option of having local GPs running the rota for out-of-hours using the model currently used for the medical assessment unit. This was also encouraged by the cabinet secretary for health at her meeting at the Vale of Leven hospital. It is disappointing that the desire to run out-of-hours locally has not yet been agreed.”

Hospitalwatch chair Jim Moohan welcomed the news that progress was being made.

He told us: “Out-of-hours was always top of our agenda.

“As we know, there have been problems with the service for a while.

“I’m glad there is a resolution. For the community, it’s a great change and hopefully there won’t be any hiccups.

“It’s a big change from the last few years which have been an absolute nightmare.

“The health board did listen to us and appreciated the concerns we raised.”

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A meeting between clinicians and managers, organised by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde bosses last week, saw discussions over the out-of-hours service and other departments at the Vale.

It included talks on “areas for improvement” incorporating how patients are assessed as they come into the hospital, how to better use space within the current minor injuries and medical assessment units as well as access to mental health services out of hours.

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “The meeting highlighted positive areas for development from which further work will be done to help provide a more sustainable out-of-hours service at the Vale of Leven Hospital.

“We will be in continual dialogue with local clinicians and stakeholders and changes to any service would be in line with national guidance and the recommendations of the Sir Lewis Ritchie report.”

Speaking after last week’s meeting, chief of medicine for the Clyde sector Dr David Raeside said: “This was an incredibly positive meeting with contributions and commitments from across the local teams to develop ideas and thinking around how to best improve services and pathways into the hospital for our patients.”

And Kirsteen Maclennan of West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership added: “This very positive meeting allows us to make further plans together to ensure local people are aware of and have access to the right service at the right time, including a range of community and hospital services.”

The feedback from the meeting will now be developed into a number of recommendations and actions which will be taken forward.

There will also continue to be ongoing engagement with partner organisations including local GPs and the Scottish Ambulance Service.

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