Scotland’s new medical chief has rejected a plea by health campaigners to tackle what they say is an “inequality in patient care” for local cancer sufferers.
The campaigners, headed by Lenzie man Tom Herbert, have been campaigning for six years for a chemotherapy unit to be set up at Stobhill Hospital to serve patients in East Dunbartonshire and North Glasgow.
However, Dr Catherine Calderwood, who was appointed as the Scottish Government’s Chief Medical Officer earlier this year, told campaigners she agreed with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde that a chemo unit at the hospital would be “unsustainable.”
In a letter to Lenzie man Tom Herbert, who has been heading the campaign for the past six years, she said: “Their analysis demonstrates it would be unsustainable to provide a high quality service for the few patients suitable to receive day case systemic therapy at Stobhill.”
Mr Herbert said he was “extremely disappointed” but added the fight would go on.
He said: “I hoped she would have tackled this health inequality in the area. As it stands, patients, often at their lowest ebb, face a two-hour bus journey to the Beatson in Glasgow.
He added the new Victoria Hospital had a chemo unit and its catchment area was “virtually the same” as the catchment area for Stobhill.
Campaigners are being backed by Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Jenny Marra MSP.
She said: “It is clear there are issues in North Glasgow and all over Scotland with access to local services and patient transport. Many people are isolated from the health services they need.”