Concern over patients faced with delays

Last year's town centre meeting attracted a large turnout.
Last year's town centre meeting attracted a large turnout.

NHS Lanarkshire has pledged to create a range of locally-based care facilities after its plan to centralise a key service hit massive opposition.

In a new move the board says it’s bringing in interim measures to address concerns about patients that have arisen while the main row rumbles on.

At the heart of the contentious issue is a staffing crisis among GPs, with too few prepared to work in local health centres at night.

The board’s bid to “move” the GP out of hours service to hospitals in Airdrie or Hamilton caused uproar.

Now services will still be based in these towns as a temporary measure, but with the promise that local services will also be introduced.

Meanwhile the board says it will follow the thrust of a national review of the service before deciding how to reshape its crisis-hit service.

Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP Jamie Hepburn said: “They have confirmed this will include developing and introducing alternative service options such as extended pharmacy services and nurse-led services.”

He welcomed the development, but says these ideas had been viable from the start, but had been excluded.

He added that the level of public opposition to the board’s original Airdrie/Hamilton preferred option was “unsurprising”, as it meants both Cumbernauld and Kilsyth losing local GP out of hours services.

Central Scotland Labour MSP Mark Griffin called on the Scottish Government to halt the local consultation, and urged NHS Lanarkshire to restore the out of hours service in Cumbernauld.

NHS Lanarkshire chief executive Calum Campbell, said: “We need to take urgent interim steps to improve access for patients assessed as requiring to be seen within one hour, as at present only 37 per cent of these patients are being seen within target.”