Baille reveals FoI documents showing collusion to disguise plans to close Vale of Leven’s Ward 6

New documents released under Freedom of Information reveal that health board officials and the SNP Government worked together on plans to close ward 6 at the Vale of Leven Hospital.

The papers obtained by Jackie Baillie also show that health board lied about its plans to close the ward last year while spin doctors anguished over how to bury the bad news about the closure of Ward 6.

The documents reveal that:

  • The SNP Government knew about the closure on 24th November 2015, more than 3 weeks before the announcement on 16th December – but failed to intervene. Instead, Scottish Government officials asked the health board for a briefing to defend the closure in case SNP Ministers were challenged in the Scottish Parliament. The SNP’s over promotedHealth Secretary, Shona Robison, had refused to answer Jackie Baillie’s earlier question about when she was told about the closure.
  • The health board started work on proposals to close Ward 6 in July 2015 – despite telling Jackie Baillie in October 2015 that it had ‘no plans’ for closure. The report from last summer contained a number of options, including keeping the ward open, but officials recommended closure in order to release ‘efficiency savings’.
  • The health board promised staff displaced by the closure that they could continue working locally despite knowing that it might not be possible. One official callously admits in an email that this ‘might not be fulfilled but it is only an aim so we should be able to say it’.


This is how politicians, public servants [?] and spinners do what the rest of us call ‘lying’.

Jackie Baillie has also pointed out that, while the SNP’s local candidate  for next month’s Scottish Parliament elections has remained silent on the ward closure, the leader of the SNP branch in Dumbarton Constituency told a local newspaper that people should ‘rejoice’ at the removal of the service. What he said was: ‘It should be a reason to rejoice that there is no need for Ward 6 as the advances in day surgery render it unnecessary.’ – a position we understand is challenged by Ms Baillie.

Jackie Baillie – who has been the area’s  respected MSP, is again the Scottish Labour candidate on 5th May and is her party’s most formidable politician, says: ‘These documents blow a hole through the health board’s argument that the closure of Ward 6 would have no impact on staff and services at the Vale of Leven Hospital.

‘The SNP Government should apologise to local patients and staff for failing to ask a single question to challenge the health board’s plans or intervene to stop the closure.

‘It’s no surprise that the SNP Health Secretary refused to tell me when she first heard about the plans. The only thing her party cared about was how to defend the decision when asked about it in Parliament.

‘The health board clearly lied about their plans when I asked them about the future of the ward last Autumn.

‘They finally buried the bad news in the last week before Christmas after the health board’s spin doctors worked out how to minimise the damaging headlines – even going as far as to give a false promise to staff they knew they might not be able to keep.

‘This is a disgraceful way to treat staff and patients and local people deserve better.

‘Why has the SNP candidate remained silent while her party ‘rejoices’ at yet more cuts to the Vale? This area needs an MSP who will fight for local staff and patients, not one who will meekly follow the party line.’

Background material

Here is the collection of documents and emails his matter released to Jackie Baillie on 14th April 2016: FoI documents & emails released to Jackie Baillie 201604141439

From the Scottish Parliament’s Official Report, 28 January 2016

Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab): The cabinet secretary is quoted in my local press as saying that she did not know about and would not approve the proposed cuts at the Vale of Leven hospital. Given that statement, will she tell us whether she knew about the closure of ward 6 only in December? Was she notified of that by the health board?

Shona Robison: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will inevitably introduce changes in the services that it provides. When those changes are major and significant, we expect the board to consult the community. As Jackie Baillie knows, boards adjust their services all the time; it would be unreasonable for them to do otherwise. However, as she rightly said, I have made clear to her and to the local community that the vision for the Vale, as developed by this Government after Jackie Baillie’s Government closed accident and emergency services there—[Interruption.]

The Presiding Officer: Order.

Shona Robison: Jackie Baillie’s Government was set to close the Vale of Leven hospital, and it was this Government that saved the hospital and delivered the vision for it. This Government will ensure that services such as emergency care continue at the Vale. Jackie Baillie would be better advised to listen to the reassurance that I have given, rather than continuing to generate fear and alarm in the local community. I am sure that the local community will benefit from that continuation and welcome that assurance.

See more online here.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Baillie is now resorting to nonsense! Some would say that was always the case however she forgot to mention that the Scottish Government have stated publicly that they are going to invest in the Vale.
    It was Liebour who tried to close it,pre 2007.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 15

    Hugh Jazz April 16, 2016 12:36 pm Reply
    • HJ, It’s just not your day today and tomorrow doesn’t look any better.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 8

      richard April 16, 2016 12:59 pm Reply
      • The 5th May 2016 will certainly not be your day Dick,heads you lose.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 13

        Hugh Jazz April 16, 2016 3:04 pm Reply
        • HJ, you always get abusive when wrong, lets see what tomorrow brings.
          Maybe a revelation about the dodgy deal with China and why a council turned them away or why the SG tried to intervene.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

          richard April 16, 2016 4:31 pm Reply
          • I think you and dodgy Dave should go on holiday together.
            Better together!!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10

            Hugh Jazz April 16, 2016 6:30 pm
  • Jackie Baillie, has made a full time career out of saving the Vale. I’ve lost count of the number of times the lady has saved the Vale. But mind you, I haven’t forgotten how she and her Labour Party privatised hospital cleaning and infection control with such tragic results.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 10

    Willie April 16, 2016 1:21 pm Reply
  • Sounds like they’ve been studying at the ‘Boris Johnson School of Integrity’ – an all-party centre of excellence on how to con an idiot electorate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

    Robert Wakeham April 16, 2016 3:43 pm Reply
  • Why do you use the word “respected” when writing about Jackie Baillie?
    She lost that facility a long time ago.
    If I may advise “nasty” might be a better word to use.
    If it hadn’t been for the SNP the Vale would have been closed a long time ago as well as the A and E at Monklands General and St John’s Livingston.
    With the new major hospital facility in Glasgow the realigning of services will probably take place for the betterment of all over a longer period.
    Expect Jackie Baillie, “for argyll” and the Tulip to come up with a lot of a pile of piffle when that happens.
    Save our NHS by
    Voting SNP X both votes 1 and 2

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 8

    Keitho April 16, 2016 8:46 pm Reply
    • Keitho, you don’t know what the word ‘respect’ means nor do you understand that you have to earn it. Being a member of the SNP or being a MSP of any party doesn’t earn you the right to respect.
      Go away and think about it.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9

      Richard April 16, 2016 9:50 pm Reply
  • Just got word hat another poll is to be released midweek. Looks pretty bad for all Yoon parties.
    Sorry if this has put you off the notion of roast beef tomorrow!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

    Hugh Jazz April 16, 2016 10:11 pm Reply
    • HJ, it looks pretty bad for all Scottish parties, as quoted recently Holyrood’s claim to fame is being the gayest in the world, then it ranks number one for noses in the trough, no opposition, all self congratulating, we love the power and the money.
      Why bother with an election?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

      Richard April 16, 2016 10:52 pm Reply
      • Dipped below your usual level of crap there Richard the Tulip.
        When you were writing your “better together Kintyre blog” respect was never in your vocabulary.
        Are you homophobic as well as a nasty little lickspittle to the Unionist
        anti European Union cause?
        Do you actually know what you really are?
        You have nothing of any interest except to your fellow nasties.
        Vote for a better future for your kids. Vote SNP both votes 1 and 2
        The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.
        Vote to get rid of food banks, not mentioned once by Ruthie.
        Richard the Tulip will find it hard to vote for her.
        The Tulip will find it hard to vote for a few of our party leaders.
        Richard the Tulip really doesn’t matter, he is unworthy.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10

        Keitho April 16, 2016 11:44 pm Reply
        • Keitho, keep the insults and accusations coming, I’m just waiting for you to overstep the mark, if you think I write on some stupid Kintyre blog that’s up to you, as for my comment on the gayest parliament in the world you can thank Ms Dug dale for it.
          Holyrood is the weakest parliament with no opposition and a lot fat cats who like the power and the money without earning it.
          Slope off to your miserable drinking hole in Tobermory and bore all your mates.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

          Richard April 17, 2016 7:46 am Reply
          • For Richard the Tulip

            Don’t do the “drinking hole “bit.
            Looks like you know more about these things than me.
            That would explain your piffle postings.
            Are you really ” homophobic”?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

            Keitho April 17, 2016 6:35 pm
          • Getting bitter now Dick!
            Will your bitterness crescendo be on the 5th May?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

            Hugh Jazz April 17, 2016 8:08 pm
        • Keitho, keep going and step over the line you know you want to.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

          Richard April 17, 2016 10:00 pm Reply
      • I am always intrigued by the table that the SNP set up in main street at elections and of course the referendum. There are usually three or four people manning it, all wearing badged clothing. But they never do any campaigning, every time I go past they are either talking to each other or to friends who have stopped for a chat. The only sign of any other activity is young kids who have been given SNP flags. I can never understand what is the point of them being there.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

        Lundavra April 17, 2016 8:22 am Reply
        • 31% lead over their Yoonionist rivals,yes,the SNP activists are rubbish.
          Saw a bit of tumble weed in Tarbert the other day.Attached was a Libdem and Tory leaflet. Couldn’t see the point of that either!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

          Hugh Jazz April 18, 2016 8:51 am Reply
  • Greater Glasgow Health Board is full of labour and Unite TU hacks. Why didn’t Baillie speak to her pals in the Board

    Foreign Argyll guff

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

    No Cheese Here April 16, 2016 10:28 pm Reply
  • What is the point of keeping a ward open which is not used? Do your research before printing such piffle. The number of hospital beds is not a measure of the quality of a health service. It’s the quality of care and living longer. Despite Jackie Baillie’s and Labour’s record of delivering among the worse health statistics in Scotland on Dumbarton and the Vale health is on the up.

    The Daily Record journalist was seconded to the local Lennox Herald to concoct a Save the Vale Campaign to save JB’s bacon.

    It’s a joke! No one believes it.

    What proof have you got that any patient has been prejudiced?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

    Graeme McCormick April 17, 2016 3:41 pm Reply
    • it’s a mixed surgical ward with 10 beds. It has a 10% occupancy rate…basically a whole ward with just 1 patient per day. That level of use can easily be catered for in Lomond ward without compromising service delivery or patient safety.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      jake April 17, 2016 10:42 pm Reply
    • Indeed Graeme, These old wards are a drain on resources that can be better utilised in modern facilities.
      My local hospital was marked for demolition well over ten years ago now and replaced with a day hospital.
      Everyone was up in arms then, but now that the new facility has been working for over five years, I doubt anyone would ever say that they want to return to the old system.
      Minor operations and most tests can be done at the new hospital. It’s only when it’s something major that needs specialist wards that you need to travel to a large hospital.
      No system is ever going to suit everyone and different areas need different support if a large hospital is very far away, but this is not the case with the Vale.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

      Murdoch MacKenzie April 18, 2016 10:08 am Reply
  • How very dare you Graeme. There are ofcourse beds in the Vale of Leven Hospital.Thay are for sick people. I know many sick people who want a bed.
    So there.
    The Daily Retard journalist is seconded to make me look bad. Very bad as it turns out!
    I have saved the Vale more times than I have had Mr. Kiplings Cakes.Further more I happen to like Mr.Kiplings Cakes.So there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    Jackie Bayleaf April 17, 2016 5:33 pm Reply
  • Jackie Baillie hasn’t heard of “Care in the Community” which means we don’t need so many beds. Strange because she is the biggest community care issue around. Foreign Argyll and broken record create news in place of reporting it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    No Cheese Here April 17, 2016 10:24 pm Reply
    • NCH, that’s one big lie, I know first hand what was promised and the reality.
      I suggest you get real!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

      Richard April 18, 2016 7:45 am Reply
      • Baby Dicky is really throwing the toys out of the pram,this weather.
        Wonder what’s irked him?
        Could it be that the Yoon Parties are going to get soundly thrashed again?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

        Hugh Jazz April 18, 2016 8:11 am Reply
        • HJ, you try and deal with elderly family who are ill through no fault of their own, never drank alcohol, never taken drugs, never abused themselves, worked all their lives and paid all taxes etc.
          SNP and any other political parties promise of care in the community isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
          HJ, It’s quite amusing they are discussing people like you on BBC Scotland this morning.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

          richard April 18, 2016 10:40 am Reply
          • Dick,I don’t watch nor listen to BBC SHORTBREAD!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

            Hugh Jazz April 18, 2016 11:20 am
      • Dick,

        Calm down dear, calm down.

        See the most recent poll suggests SNP in lead 1&2 with tank commander 3rd. Maybe she needs a new prop?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

        No Cheese Here April 18, 2016 10:39 am Reply
        • NCH, not interested in polls and I couldn’t care less about which bunch of fatcats get into Holyrood, they will all sit there at their little school desks nodding and playing at @pretendy parliament’ by the way where is your beloved SNP manifesto or can’t they come up with anything other tax, tax, tax, benefits, benefits, benefits.
          They want the power and the money but are unable to do the job, get on and govern.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

          richard April 18, 2016 10:46 am Reply
          • I just found a wee Rattle on my lawn here in Tarbert.
            I wonder if it came from a pram in Kintyre!!!
            It had a cute little face on it with Yoonion Jacks on its cheeks!!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

            Hugh Jazz April 18, 2016 11:23 am
  • I feel your pain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

    No Cheese Here April 18, 2016 11:21 am Reply

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