NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (Out-of-hours Provision)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 28th June 2018.

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Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

1. To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to improve out-of-hours provision at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. (S5O-02289)

Photo of Joe FitzPatrick Joe FitzPatrick Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is working closely with health boards and integration authorities to ensure that a safe and effective general practitioner-led out-of-hours service is provided across Scotland.

Over the past three years, we have invested £25 million to support the delivery of 25 recommendations from Sir Lewis Ritchie’s report on GP-led out-of-hours and urgent care services. The recommendations are focused on ensuring that a wider, more resilient multidisciplinary team is in place to support our out-of-hours GPs. In 2018-19, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will receive £1.1 million to support local action. That is in addition to investment to train 1,000 additional paramedics over the course of this parliamentary session, who will play a critical part in the expanding multidisciplinary teams.

Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

I thank the minister for his response and I welcome him to his new role in the health team. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has just announced its vision for the future of acute services. Over 30 services are set to change, including out-of-hours services at the Vale of Leven hospital. There is no clear information on the impact on hospital services, nor is there clarity about the consultation process. Some people more cynical than me have suggested that the health board does not want to consult.

Will the minister give me a guarantee that the information on hospital provision will be provided urgently and that significant service changes such as these will be subject to full consultation? I also issue an invitation through him for the new Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport to accompany me on a visit to the Vale of Leven hospital.

Photo of Joe FitzPatrick Joe FitzPatrick Scottish National Party

I thank the member for her supplementary question and for her invitation. I see that the cabinet secretary-designate is in the chamber. The member will know my commitment and the cabinet secretary-designate’s commitment to engagement on a whole range of issues. The fact is that the Vale of Leven hospital had many, many years of services being run down by the previous Administration. This Government ended that uncertainty with our vision for the Vale.

Photo of Annie Wells Annie Wells Conservative

On Sunday last week, a shortage of GPs in greater Glasgow meant that there were not enough doctors on duty to staff its out-of-hours centres between 1 am and 6 am. That meant that patients requiring urgent medical care were asked to go to accident and emergency, while some had to wait for primary care emergency centres to open again at 6 am.

Given the challenges of GP recruitment and retention in Scotland, how will the minister refresh failed recruitment drives that are known not to be working?

Photo of Joe FitzPatrick Joe FitzPatrick Scottish National Party

There was clearly a specific problem, which Ms Wells has related. That was identified in time for alternative strategies to be put in place and I think that that was the right thing to do because there would have been a danger of people being pointed towards services that would not have been suitable.

It was correct that the action was taken in advance of that becoming a problem, but clearly we need to look at what lessons can be learned for the future.