New MSP backs chemo campaign

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Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Rona Mackay has vowed to fight for a vital outpatient service for cancer patients 
in her constituency.

At the moment, patients in East Dunbartonshire face a gruelling trip to the Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow for treatment.

The SNP MSP is backing 
Ms Mackay joins Lenzie health campaigner Tom Herbert, who has been battling for a chemotherapy clinic at the “new” Stobhill Hospital for more than five years.

Elderly Lenzie woman Myra Denmark (78) who has pancreatic cancer, is forced to make a weekly trip to the Beatson for chemotherapy.

Myra, who has also 
suffered two strokes and is 
registered blind, told the Herald this week of the toll the journey takes on her.

She said: “I have to go by taxi and it takes five hours, including the length of time I have to wait at the Beatson.”

Myra suffers from debilitating side effects from the chemotherapy, including bouts of sickness and swollen legs which makes it difficult for her to walk.

She added: “The Beatson is a busy busy place and very often it’s difficult to get a seat. By the time I get home, I am exhausted and have to go to bed.”

Myra relies totally on husband Billy to get her to and from the Beatson. She said: “I just couldn’t get there by myself because of my sight problem.

“If the clinic was local, more people would be available to take me there. It also costs £28 to and from the Beatson by taxi. If the clinic was local, it would cost £14.”

She added: “The train is a no-go because of my sight problems. And anyway, the trip would take seven hours. I couldn’t cope with that.”

Patient transport is 
also no use, says Myra, as her treatment usually finishes at 4.30pm and the hospital bus stops running at 4pm.

Ms Mackay said: “Myra’s experience illustrates exactly why there is a need for an outpatient chemotherapy clinic at Stobhill for patients to access at the appropriate stage of their treatment.

“Every effort should be made to treat patients as close to home as possible and having a state-of-the-art hospital on our doorstep which does not allow this simply isn’t good enough.

“I will continue to press Greater Glasgow Health Board on this issue so that patients like Myra – and many others – do not have to suffer this stress and inconvenience.”

The health board say there is insufficient patients for a chemotherapy service at Stobhill but this is refuted by Tom Herbert. He said: “This is unacceptable. The New Victoria Hospital in Glasgow has a similar demographic to East Dunbartonshire, and it is available there.”