Fears that sick people in Clydesdale will be cut off from any Out-of-Hours doctor service during the harsh winter weather often hitting our rural area have been allayed.
As reported in the Gazette, there was huge controversy when NHS Lanarkshire recently totally abandoned trying to continue providing Out-of-Hours GP cover for the Clydesdale area from its former Lanark base.
It was stated that not enough doctors were coming forward to volunteer to do the night and weekend shifts to maintain a local after-hours service.
The health authority announced that from now on there would be only two Out-of-Hours surgeries to cover the whole of the county, one in Hamilton and the other in Airdrie.
This led to cries of protest about families, concerned at the possibility of sick children having to travel halfway across Lanarkshire at nights to see a doctor.
It was pointed out to Lanarkshire NHS that Lanark and Carluke just recently lost its direct train service to Hamilton and public transport links from Clydesdale to Airdrie are close to non-existant, involving changes of trains and buses to get there.
However, the health authority promised that anyone requiring to get to the surgeries and couldn’t make it under their own steam WOULD have transport laid on, mainly by taxis, paid for by the health service.
However, at the Annual Review of NHS Lanarkshire two weeks ago all three of Lanark and Forth area’s South Lanarkshire Council members — Councillors McClymont, Shaw and Archer— attended personally to quiz health bosses on what would happen if rural Clyesdale suffered a winter ‘white-out’ with snowbound roads impassible for either taxis or even ambulances and even the trains prevented from running.
The councillors were given verbal assurances at the Review meeting that, whatever the conditions, patients in Clydesdale would not be left stranded without medical aid.
An NHS Lanarkshire source repeated these assuranecs to the Gazette, stating that, in addition to the Out-of-Hours surgeries, there were also night-time and weekend mobile GP 4X4 vehicles, equipped to get through all but the most severe of weather to reach the sick.
In addition, NHS Lanarkshire also had a “robust” arrangement with the roads authority, South Lanarkshire Council, for keeping vital road links open for emergency vehicles in the case of bad weather.
A report was made to the most recent meeting of Lanark Community Council that NHS Lanarkshire were, indeed, providing taxis for Out-of-Hours patients in this area since the local GP service was dropped.
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