“It hardly seems like five years since I took over as Chairman of what was then Greater Glasgow Health Board. It’s been a quick term, but one that, I’m proud to say, has been full of achievements.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing me as Chairman of Scotland’s biggest health authority was helping to steer our staff through a major period of change and upheaval.
Not only did they have to contend with the uncertainty and disruption of the Health Board and four individual health trusts coming together under one single system…known as NHS Greater Glasgow.
But, only a year later, there was further change when a large part of the old NHS Argyll and Clyde merged with NHS Greater Glasgow to form a new and even bigger authority, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Our staff met the challenges thrown up by these two major events with true professionalism, continuing throughout to provide quality services to the people we serve.
Another major piece of work that has been ongoing during my chairmanship is the modernisation of our hospitals in Glasgow.
This £750 million investment has already seen the opening of a brand new Beatson Cancer Centre and the new Rowanbank secure care centre this year. Two new hospitals, replacing Stobhill and the Victoria Infirmary, are in the process of being built as is a new mental health facility replacing Gartnavel Royal Hospital. All three of these will be opening next year.
Planning for the redevelopment of the Southern General campus is well underway with a brand new children’s hospital and new adult hospital being built, and the existing maternity unit being expanded and developed.
Over the past year, we’ve also been part of a unique collaboration with Glasgow University, which is bringing a brand new £9.5million laboratory to Glasgow.
It’s not just been hospitals which have benefited from a reorganisation. Our community services have also seen a lot of change.
Firstly, brand new healthcare organisations were formed around two years ago to provide better, more joined-up services to the people of Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The Community Health Partnerships (CHPs) provide a wide range of local health services. In Glasgow, these organisations have been created in partnership with Glasgow City Council and East Renfrewshire Council to become Community Health Care Partnerships (CHCPs), which provide a full range of both health and social care services. These Partnerships will increasingly provide a “joined-up approach” to services for communities.
Providing patients with easier access to healthcare is a huge part of what we are trying to achieve, which is why we’ve opened five satellite clinics of our award-winning Sandyford Initiative across our area. These provide expert sexual, emotional and reproductive healthcare for men, women and young people.
In the near future, we have plans to open a brand new £13.1million Glasgow South West Community Hub (with Glasgow City Council), a new Health and Social Care Centre in Barrhead (in partnership with East Renfrewshire Council) and the new Renfrew Health Centre (with Renfrewshire Council).
Other major initiatives I’ve been proud to have been involved in is the establishment of the Glasgow Centre for Population Health – now a world renowned centre for health research – and our Volunteers’ event last year which celebrated the contribution of our volunteers.
As Chairman of NHSGGC, my first duty was to the people of the area we serve. However, I feel as a health authority, we also have a duty to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
That is why NHSGGC recently joined forces with the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative to help the people of Malawi.
Thanks to our hospitals modernisation programme, which included the purchasing of a number of new pieces of equipment, we were able to supply the Initiative with older high tech equipment we no longer required. The Initiative then shipped that vital aid package to Malawian hospitals.
Everyone knows about the African AIDs crisis, but there’s less awareness of the blight cancer is having on the lives of Africa’s people. Recently, I joined health colleagues from across the world to highlight the magnitude of the burden of cancer in Africa and to call for immediate action to bring comprehensive cancer to the continent.
The coming year will see Glasgow hospitals modernisation plans continue to blossom and we will continue to improve and develop health services for the people of Greater Glasgow and Clyde, including in areas such as mental health and addictions.