Scottish Labour to force NHS cuts vote

Written by Tom Freeman on 28 September 2016 in News

Health board plans to downgrade or close local services should be classed as 'major service changes' says Anas Sarwar

Scottish Labour will lead a debate on cuts to local NHS services today amid plans by health boards to merge, downgrade or close hospitals and other facilities.

Regional health boards in Scotland are asked to make annual efficiency savings while refocusing care into home or community settings. This has led to some services being centralised into larger hospitals.

Question marks remain over services such as maternity services at Vale of Leven and Inverclyde, orthopaedics at Monklands hospital and others.


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Scottish Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar will today attempt to reclassify the planned changes as ‘major service changes’, which would require ministerial approval.

“It would be completely unacceptable for the SNP government to sit back and watch vital local services be hit with cuts, closures or downgrades. Especially when the SNP promised these services would be safe before the election,” he said.

The Centre for Integrative Care in Gartnaval, which specialises in non-traditional chronic pain management techniques such as the controversial homeopathy, has been earmarked for losing its seven in-patient beds.

Scottish Labour will fight the cut, but some voices in the medical profession have spoken out against it receiving any funding at all, because of a lack of evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy.

Last year three health boards announced they would stop referring patients to the facility and the British Medical Association called for it to stop receiving NHS funding.

BMA Scotland chairman Dr Peter Bennie said “We are concerned that scarce funding will be spend on ‘treatment’ that no scientific evidence base to support its use.”

However a number of patients have spoken out against the proposal.

The national clinical strategy published last year called for a need for more local community health centres and hospitals. 

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