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16 August 2016, 19:23
The Government is being urged to stop proposed closures to maternity units and other hospital services in the west of Scotland.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) plans a shake-up of services including closing maternity units at Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandria, and Inverclyde Royal Hospital, Greenock.
Under the proposals, Lightburn Hospital in Glasgow would shut and the children's ward at Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley would close, with children needing inpatient care being sent to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.
Families who self-refer their children to the Paisley hospital in an emergency will be treated there, but not in a dedicated children's ward.
Opposition politicians have called on the Scottish Government to step in to protect services as the health board agreed to hold a public consultation.
Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: "The SNP government must now step in to stop cuts to local services in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.
"To do anything less would be unacceptable. The SNP promised to protect these services.
"The NHS in Greater Glasgow and Clyde is facing £69 million worth of cuts under the SNP government and that is putting local services on the line.''
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "The health board can consult all they want but it is not hard to imagine the sort of response that they will get to plans that would see doors shut at hospitals and maternity units across Greater Glasgow. We have already seen protests over these savings plans.''
He said government ministers need to work with the health board to ensure resources are in place to protect services "wherever possible'', adding "our NHS needs to be able to take decisions based on what is best for patients, not simply what is cheapest''.
NHSGGC board chairman John Brown said: "There has been already significant interest in the proposals and it is only right that the public have an opportunity to hear the clinical case for change and to have their views heard.
"With the paediatric ward and the community maternity units, outpatient services would remain on site and in the case of Lightburn, we are working with the Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership to develop a proposal for the substantial development of local community services on the Parkhead site.''
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "No final decisions have been made on these proposals and the Scottish Government has not approved the proposals considered by the board of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde today.
"This government recognises that these are valued local services. NHS Greater and Glasgow has a record high budget this year of over £2 billion, which has increased by over 27% under this government.''
She said the government sees a "bright future'' for the Vale hospital and previously rejected proposals to close Lightburn, adding: "Any proposals that do not properly reflect these concerns will not be approved by this government.''