After ten years of uncertainty, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde today unveiled a package of proposals designed to guarantee the Vale of Leven Hospital a safe and secure future.
The proposals, already the subject of a pre-consultation and engagement process with a wide range of stakeholders, will see the hospital continuing to play the major role in the provision of NHS care to local people – with even more patients being seen and treated than at present.
The new consultation document sets out a range of service changes and developments which build on the existing strengths of the hospital. These include:
• New arrangements to sustain 70% to 80% of the 24 hour unplanned medical care currently delivered at the Vale
• Continuation and expansion of the current range of planned outpatient, daycase and diagnostic services
• Sustaining and promoting the Vale’s Community Maternity Unit
• Sustaining the Minor Injuries Unit which treats 9,000 patients each year
• Ongoing provision of Rehabilitation inpatient services
• Inpatient mental health services for older people to be sustained on the site
• A new, purpose-built health and social care centre
In addition to these proposals, two future options are described for adult mental health inpatient services and patients, carers and local communities are asked to comment on each.
Some of the most significant changes would affect planned services such as routine day surgery and outpatient appointments. Our proposals would see the number of episodes increase by 20% - up by 18,350 – as a result of new and expanded services. This is good
news for local patients and their families who will no longer have to travel to Paisley or Glasgow for their appointments.
The proposals include a new £3.6 million dental complex to enhance general and specialist dental services, development of a Rheumatology Service, more local Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) and orthopaedic surgery, more endoscopy (internal investigation with a small camera) and ophthalmology (eye) procedures and follow-up appointments, as well as bringing urological operations to the Vale.
There will also be an expansion of specialist services including kidney dialysis, cancer care and neurology (treatment of diseases and problems with the nervous system) services, which will double current capacity.
The proposed changes to the Vale’s Medical Assessment Unit, which cares for patients who have taken ill and need swift assessment and treatment (but not A & E or intensive care), follow from a series of reviews, the most recent being carried out this summer.
The August 2008 expert Independent Review confirmed that stopgap arrangements to provide anaesthetic cover at the Unit, left in place by the former NHS Argyll and Clyde, were not sustainable. The review team asked the Health Board to consider ways in which the maximum possible number of local patients could go on using the unit without anaesthetic cover in place.
The review team themselves proposed that the service become a GP-supported unit, with specially trained GPs able to provide assessment and care for a large proportion of existing patients. This builds on a similar ‘integrated care model’ previously piloted by local GPs. This option is now offered for consultation by NHSGGC and would be able to deliver between 4,410 and 5,292 patient episodes each year – between 70% and 80% of the Medical Assessment Unit’s current level.
The most seriously ill patients from West Dunbartonshire, the Lochside and Helensburgh have been taken by ambulance direct to the A & E at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley since 2004 and this arrangement would not change. In response to the removal of anaesthetic cover, other patients, who may be at higher risk of their condition worsening or requiring specialist care, would also go direct to Paisley. This would include people overdosing on drugs or suffering a stroke.
The Health Board are committed to working with the Scottish Ambulance Service to provide the extra funding needed to ensure an increased level of paramedic services including vehicles to enable the rapid transfer of patients around the clock.
Commenting on the proposals, NHSGGC’s Chairman, Andrew Robertson, said: “Our vision for the future of the Vale of Leven Hospital is that it will continue to be a vibrant and busy NHS site and that it will continue to play a central role in the provision off NHS care to local communities.
“Although the proposals will mean that more of patients in the most at risk categories will have to go direct to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, we are certain we can significantly increase the overall level of activity on the Vale site and make sure that fewer local patients have to go Paisley or Glasgow for their care. This change will affect a material number of people, some of whom travel regularly because of their long-term chronic illness.
“After a decade of debate and uncertainty, we think we have proposals now that will bring about stability and certainty. It is absolutely vital that patients and communities take part in the consultation and let is know what they think.”
Recognising the significant progress that has already been made during the run-up to the launch of consultation, West Dunbartonshire Council Leader, Iain Robertson, said: “It is important to recognise that for the first time in a decade we are consulting on the return of and introduction of new services at the Vale of Leven Hospital.
“I am delighted to see the board proposing significant capital investment in the Vale of Leven Hospital over the coming years.
“I also welcome the news that the board is planning services for a 20% increase in patient treatments.”
The consultation will go on until 30th January, 2009 and will be supported by five public events, local drop-in sessions, a newsletter delivered to 60,000 households in the Vale of Leven Hospital’s catchment area, posters, advertising and web pages.
Notes to Editors
A copy of the full consultation paper can be obtained from our website www.nhsggc.org.uk/valeofleven or by calling 0800 027 7246 during normal office hours.
This information is available in different languages and formats (e.g. large print or audio cassette) by contacting 0141 201 4915.
Comments on all aspects of our proposals are welcome. Comments can either be emailed to:
or submitted in writing to:-
Head of Board Administration.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
There is no need to affix a stamp to the envelope.
We are organising the following public events during the consultation period:
• Thursday, 27th November 2008, Commodore Hotel, Helensburgh - 2.30 to 4.30 PM and 6.30 to 8.30 PM
• Monday, 1st December 2008, Dumbarton Burgh Hall – 2.30 to 4.30 PM and 6.30 to 8.30 PM
• Wednesday, 14th January 2009, Vale of Leven Academy, Bonhill, Alexandria – 6.30 to 8.30 PM only
• Monday, 19th January 2009, Dumbarton Burgh Hall – 2.30 to 4.30 PM and 6.30 to 8.30 PM
• Wednesday, 21st January 2009, Commodore Hotel, Helensburgh – 2.30 to 4.30 PM and 6.30 to 8.30 PM
In all but one of the meetings (Alexandria) we have been able to arrange separate afternoon and evening sessions to ensure as many people as possible can attend.
People can register to attend events by calling 0800 027 7246. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
We appreciate that the timings and format of public meetings will not suit everyone, especially those who to prefer to ask questions and make comments informally. For that reason, we are arranging a number of drop-in sessions around the area during the consultation period. There is no need to book a place in advance.
We will advertise other sessions as we organise them in the local press and on screens at local health centres and the Vale of Leven Hospital. Calls can also be made to 0800 027 7446 at any time to check forthcoming dates.
The consultation will end on 30th January 2009.
For further information contact 0141 201 4429.