A petition launched to “save Strathcarron Hospice” in the face of possible funding cuts has gained more than 2,000 extra signatures overnight.
Yesterday the Falkirk Herald reported how Emma McPherson, a doctor who lives in Denny, felt she needed to take action to ward of what she sees as unacceptable potential cuts to the hospice’s funding.
NHS Lanarkshire has mooted ending its association with the hospice in favour of local resources, which would mean a severe cut in Strathcarron’s annual funding.
That decision has now been put on hold, but there’s no guarantee of funds from NHS Lanarkshire beyond 2020.
However Strathcarron’s administration said in a statement yesterday that it is already effectively suffering a cut to the amount justified by its level of service to Lanarkshire residents.
Despite the vagary over future funding, however, hospice management has stressed Strathcarron’s existing service will continue for the forseeable future.
Dr McPherson, a GP in Cumbernauld for 16 years, and lifelong Denny resident, argues an end to involvement with Lanarkshire would deprive not only families in (for example) Cumbernauld and Kilsyth but also put at risk the service provided by Strathcarron to Falkirk and many other areas.
She has spoken emotionally about the care her late mother received at Strathcarron, and says while she has watched NHS cuts take place “and just sat back” she feels she has to take action to protect the hospice’s future.
On her petition site she says: “Don’t allow this incredible service,vwhich unfortunately so many of us at some point will rely on, to be threatened”.
Dr McPherson aims to take her petition to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon when it reaches 25,000 signatures.
Launched earlier this week, it had gained 15,400 signatures by yesterday afternoon, and now stands at more than 17,600.
The perceived dilemma faced by Strathcarron has provoked a blizzard of comments on social media, many calling for a U-turn on any prospect of ending the local link with communities such as Cumbernauld and Kilsyth.
Graham Kane said: “It’s time the people of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth were given a chance to get removed from Lanarkshire and everything associated with it. Constantly overlooked and ignored. Shame on you NHS Lanarkahire”.
Mhairi McAlpine said: “I signed the petition and shared it, as I think it’s important for everyone to know what’s happening as well as perhaps lead to a change through public pressure.
“Fingers crossed the decision is reversed as this is a vital service which provides extremely high quality care to patients and their families across the Central Belt”.
Amanda Mckinlay said: “Absolutely disgusted with Lanarkshire health board over this decision.
“My dad was a cumbernauld resident and Strathcarron did more for him, and us as a family, than we ever received from Lanarkshire NHS service”.
Dr McPherson’s petition is at www.change.org/p/nicola-sturgeon-first-minister-save-strathcarron-hospice