A report from a local newspaper has revealed ‘a secret hitlist’ to slash the budget of Paisley’s maternity unit and to axe our sick kids ward.

If NHS chiefs go ahead with slashing the budget, it may put the future of the unit into question.

It has also been revealed that bosses may put more pressure on the A&E department at the Royal Alexander Hospital by closing A&E at the Vale hospital in Alexandria and moving the services to Paisley.

The report, revealed by the Paisley Daily Express who describes the report as a ‘secret hitlist’ also says there will be widespread job cuts across the NHS.

Labour MSP Neil Bibby said: “It’s shocking to read these plans and we must do all we can to stop any of these things from happening. I’m angered and I know local families will be furious too.”

“We already know A&E at the RAH is very under-resourced and any additional burden would be extremely concerning.

“Any downgrading or closure of maternity services would be absolutely unacceptable. A statement must be made categorically saying that this isn’t happening, and that any plans would not be approved.”

The Scottish Conservative’s have branded leaked proposals to make drastic cuts to the maternity and children’s ward services at the RAH “an absolute disgrace”.

Reacting to the discovery that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde proposed to close the children’s ward and downgrade maternity services as part of need to find £60m of cuts, the party’s candidate for Paisley in this year’s Scottish Parliament elections, Paul Masterton said: “There is absolutely no reason for these cuts to be made. By increasing health spending in England, the UK Government has ensured more cash is available for the NHS in Scotland thanks to the Barnett Formula.

“However the SNP have again decided to spend this money on other things. Any decision to cut vital services like this lies at the door of the SNP, and having already forced other health boards to make similar decisions, it looks like doing the same here.

“Families across Paisley will be astounded that a children’s ward they fought so hard to keep open is once again under threat.

“I entirely echo Neil Bibby’s calls for the Scottish Government to give an immediate and firm assurance that they will not approve these damaging proposals, and will fight alongside anyone who wants to ensure they go no further.”

MSP George Adam spoke out and give this opinion: “The staff at my local hospital do a tremendous job and for them to be confronted by front pages about possible closures is something that these politicians, and indeed the health board should take time to think about.

“If these are the facts I am very concerned about how the GGCNHS board are going about their business and I would expect board members to come clean about any such document, including the board member that that leads the Labour controlled council in Renfrewshire.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “This draft discussion paper for the Board’s Directors was written prior to the Scottish Government’s budget being put forward in December, when a substantial increase in NHS funding was announced.

“We’ve already substantially increased funding for all health boards, with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s budget increasing by 21.3 per cent under this Government.

“Since this paper was written a further rise was announced in the draft budget that will give the board a record budget of £2,078.9 million.

“Absolutely none of the points in the paper have been formally put forward for consideration. Any major service change would need approval from the Scottish Government and we’ve received no requests from the board.

“We’re clear with health boards that they need to design services that meet the needs of the local population. We have been consistently clear that we are committed to maintaining and improving services at both the Royal Alexandra Hospital and Vale of Leven – for example, including sustaining emergency services at the Vale.

“In this context, all boards, like all public sector organisations are expected to ensure they run services as efficiently as possible. Health boards are able to reinvest all money they save into front line services.

“We are also conscious that we need to up the pace on transferring services to the community as we push forward the radical integration of health and social care.”

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News