Friday, 26 February 2016 06:37

Gail Robertson with Scottish Government's ‘Cabinet on Tour’

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Last week I attended the Scottish Government's ‘Cabinet on Tour’ public discussion in Clydebank Town hall. It was a well-attended event, providing members of the public the opportunity to hear from our cabinet ministers and to ask, literally, any question they wished. The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made it very clear in her opening address that it was an opportunity for the public to have their say and the questions from the audience covered a wide range of really interesting topics.

I was particularly pleased to hear both the First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Health give their reassurance that they are absolutely committed to continuing services at the Vale of Leven hospital.
Nicola spoke of her time as health secretary and the signing of ‘Vision for the Vale’ statement and gave her reassurance, saying "We remain as committed to the Vision for the Vale today as we were back when it was published. The Vale is a vital part of your local health services and we're going to make sure that it continues to be for many many years to come."

This matters to me as a local councillor and parliamentary candidate, but more importantly it matters to me as a local resident, as someone who was born in the Vale hospital and who has had more than my fair share of visits to the hospital over the years, I know just how vital our local services are and will always be grateful for the care I have received at our hospital. In her interview with the Lennox last week Nicola Sturgeon referred to an increase in inpatient activity at the hospital of 40 percent and an increase in day case activity of 30 percent and I think it's really important that when we talk about our local hospital we recognise these figures and give credit to the dedicated staff who deliver these services. It is important because we must ensure the people of our local community know what services are available and that they make use of those services when needed and that they do so with confidence.


During the cabinet visit I was disappointed to see Labour colleagues protesting, about cuts to education! They conveniently forget that the UK Government continues to cut the budget of our Parliament in Edinburgh year on year. The Scottish Government must balance the books and work tirelessly to ensure vital services in Scotland are protected. But ironically they forget that they are the very people who are implementing cuts to the local education budget, cuts that in opposition the SNP were able to reject in our alternative budget last year, cuts that have lead our secondary school teachers to take yet another day of strike action. The very administration that chose to cut the school day last year, that again the opposition showed was unnecessary, before they of course buckled under pressure and reversed their very unwise decision. Labour must again rethink their position and act now to support our teachers and young people.