I am backing the long-running campaign to have an outpatient chemotherapy service provided at the New Stobhill Hospital.
This was not an overnight decision, or a populist, vote-winning ploy. Before deciding, I met with campaigners, leading cancer charities and clinicians and came to the view that people living north of the river – specifically Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch, Lenzie and surrounding villages – were being overlooked and neglected for financial reasons.
I submitted a Freedom of Information request to Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health board which revealed that the New Victoria Hospital in the south of Glasgow, which has an identical demographic to the areas I have highlighted, offers this facility, as do several other hospitals throughout Scotland.
The Scottish Government has just introduced its new Clinical Care Strategy which recommends health care being delivered closer to home whenever possible. Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, who are responsible for the provision of health care in this area, have been given extra money by the Government to provide this.
That’s why I think now is the time for the Health Board to take action on this important issue and deliver for the people of East Dunbartonshire.
I believe the world-renowned Beatson Cancer Care Centre is Glasgow is a centre of excellence and always will be. But for certain types of cancer, particularly in the early stages, treatment closer to home would eliminate an exhausting, often stressful, journey on public transport across Glasgow.
Cancer affects us all, directly or indirectly through friends and family, at some time in our lives. Let’s try to do what we can to help those affected – and let’s not make money the excuse for not providing the help and care that should be delivered from a state-of-the-art hospital on our doorstep.