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Centralization of Hospital Services Inconveniencing Patients

Health Minister, Andy Kerr has finally admitted that the centralization of hospital services is inconveniencing patients causing them to travellong distances// to receive health care. The limitations of the public transport system have also been made glaringly evident.

Patients and their relatives considered the transport problem a significant issue especially because commercial bus services were inadequate.

The problem of transport was raised by the members of the Scottish Health Campaigns Network in a meeting with the Health Minister at Holyrood where they were allowed to voice several of their complaints for almost an hour and a half. In addition the campaigners complained about the health boards re-arranging services giving scant attention to the difficulties of patients reaching the hospital.

For instance the changes to services in Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy have meant that many patients faced a four-hour return journey.

Mr Kerr has suggested that new regional transport partnerships should consider these issues. Sympathising with the complaints of the campaigners, Mr Kerr also mentioned the inconvenience caused by two walk-in clinics being built at Stobhill and the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow would stay in the NHS instead of being serviced by the private sector.

Dr Robert Cumming, chair of the network, said: ‘The minister accepted there were problems with transport, without any question. He did not go as far as saying [the executive would lay on buses], but the suggestion was that it could be something extra. I was encouraged.’ However George Venters, the former chairman of the Network, was not impressed saying that extra transport was about coping with centralisation, when what many people wanted was an end to it.


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