NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (Chief Executive Meetings)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 25th May 2017.

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Photo of Mary Fee Mary Fee Labour

5. To ask the Scottish Government when it last met the chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and what issues were discussed. (S5O-01033)

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

I recently met the new chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Jane Grant—that was on Thursday 18 May. We discussed matters of importance to local people.

Photo of Mary Fee Mary Fee Labour

Last week, the cabinet secretary held a small, invitation-only meeting in Paisley, where she faced strong opposition from local parents and members of the kids need our ward campaign, who are deeply worried and angry about the proposed closure of the children’s ward at the town’s Royal Alexandra hospital

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In addition, parents and families in Inverclyde are growing increasingly concerned about the downgrading of Inverclyde royal hospital’s midwife-led birthing unit. Local residents vigorously oppose the proposed changes, with a 7,000-signatures-strong petition opposing the downgrading of the birthing unit.

The final decisions about the closure of the children’s ward at the RAH and the downgrading of the birthing unit at Inverclyde royal hospital lie with the Scottish Government. Will the cabinet secretary consider the anxiety and concern that parents and families across the west of Scotland have expressed and take decisive action to reverse the closure of the children’s ward at the RAH in Paisley and the downgrading of the birthing unit at Inverclyde royal hospital?

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

I had a productive meeting on 19 May with local parents, who were able to express very directly the issues and concerns that they had. As I said to the parents at that meeting, I would be happy to meet any other concerned local parents. Indeed, we made sure that my contact details were given to anyone taking part in the protest outside the meeting who wanted them. We will liaise with those people and set up further meetings, as required, in addition to a visit that I will make to RAH ward 15.

As Mary Fee rightly said, the decision rests with me. It is quite right that I follow due process, and that I hear people’s concerns as part of that. I will take time to do that in coming to a decision about ward 15 at the RAH.

With regard to the Inverclyde birthing unit, Mary Fee should know that Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board has undertaken its own review of maternity and neonatal services in the area and will make a decision on its next steps based on that review. She is being a little pre-emptive in suggesting that those proposals are with me now; they are not—Glasgow has not submitted any formal proposals to me about the birthing unit in Inverclyde. We should allow Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board to undertake its work on maternity and neonatal services and let due process go forward from there.

Photo of Stuart McMillan Stuart McMillan Scottish National Party

The

Greenock Telegraph recently reported that employees and consultants have been informally told that the intensive treatment unit, which caters for patients at the IRH who need intensive treatment after an operation, will close in January.

Can the cabinet secretary inform me whether that issue was raised with the chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde? Why has there been no official dialogue between NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and staff and elected representatives over the plans for the ITU?

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

Stuart McMillan will be aware that NHS

Greater Glasgow and Clyde responded to concerns and confirmed that there are currently no proposals to alter the services delivered by the ITU at Inverclyde royal hospital. I expect all health boards to undertake proper and meaningful engagement with local stakeholders in the shaping and delivery of healthcare services, and local people can be assured that the national health service in Scotland has well-established guidance on service changes. It remains the case that any proposals that are designated as major changes would have to be the subject of formal public consultation and, ultimately, ministerial approval. I reiterate that there are currently no proposals to alter the services at the ITU at Inverclyde royal hospital and that nothing has come to me.

Photo of Maurice Corry Maurice Corry Conservative

The future of ward 15 at the RAH has been uncertain since 2011. We support calls for the cabinet secretary to step up and take responsibility by making a decision on the proposal. When will staff, patients and families be informed if services are to be moved to the Royal hospital for sick children?

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

If Maurice Corry had listened to my earlier answer, he would have heard me say that the decision lies with me and that the process that I am undertaking at the moment is to listen to local parents and concerned people in the area. I will be undertaking a series of meetings to make sure that those views are heard. I would have thought that he would have welcomed that, because surely he would not want me to make a decision without having heard local people’s views, as that would not be giving his constituents a very good service.