Irate health campaigners have fired off an angry letter to health chiefs. accusing them of turning their back on Cumbernauld and Kilsyth.
No fewer than three community forums covering Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and the areas north of the A80 are claiming that the area is at the bottom of NHS Lanarkshire’s priority list.
And this is despite the fact that this are has the largest population within North Lanarkshire.
The get-tough claim stems from proposals which could see out of hours care for this area moved to Airdrie.
Spokesman Billy Lees said: “This will cause severe disadvantage to people of our area
“Public transport to and from this site is limited and extremely difficult to access, particularly for the elderly, ill and infirm.’’
“We feel that people of our area are being discriminated against, particularly in light of recent closures of our radiology unit in Cumbernauld Central Health Centre and the cutbacks in hours of GP practise nurses in our health centre.
“We’re being asked again to accept unnacceptable and discriminatory cutback in health service provision,” said Mr Lees.
The next task of the forum is to organise a petition protest point in Cumbernauld Centre on Saturday, January 31 in Tay Walk.
And a giant public meeting will also take place in New Town Hall in early March.
However, Craig Cunningham, head of Lanarkshire Community Health Partnership, said: “Unfortunately, in keeping with other areas of Scotland, there is a reducing number of GPs across NHS Lanarkshire-including Cumbernauld and Kilsyth – who are available to work in the out-of-hours services.
“The two proposals which are being taken forward were developed with stakeholders through a very detailed review process over the past year as the best options for a safe and effective service across all areas of NHS Lanarkshire.
“The review, which has been undertaken in accordance with Scottish Government guidelines, explored a wide range of options. However, no alternatives were identified that would allow us to provide a safe service and address the challenge of the low numbers of GPs available to work in the service while providing a centre in Cumbernauld.
“We recognise that the proposed changes would mean a longer journey for some users of the service.
“It is important to stress that if you call NHS 24, the soonest you will be given an appointment at one of the out-of-hours centres is in one hour’s time.
“This ensures people have plenty of time to travel to their appointment,’’ added Mr Cunningham.