New figures published by the NHS show that the Vale of Leven Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Hospital have the highest death rates in Scotland.

Both hospitals have triggered amber or red alerts in each of the last five quarters.

Even more worryingly, the breakdown of the figures shows that deaths at the Vale of Leven Hospital were 67 per cent higher than predicted in the first quarter of 2017.

I have complete confidence in the NHS staff at the Vale of Leven Hospital who work hard to provide the high standard of care local patients deserve. But they need the resources and support to do their job. We know that recent cuts in our NHS have been damaging for the Vale. There are 113 fewer nurses and bed numbers have been slashed by 33 per cent since 2008. The constant threat of service cuts and climate of uncertainty at the Vale has an impact on patient safety and staff morale.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the C.Diff outbreak at the Vale. One of the lessons we should have learned from this tragic episode was the need for investment in our local hospital and support for our staff.

Yet the health board is tearing up the Vision for the Vale, without a peep of protest from the SNP government.

Instead, they could send a strong signal of long-term commitment to the Vale by ruling out any transfer of the service to Paisley and cuts to opening hours at the local GP out-of-hours service.

The SNP Leader of West Dunbartonshire Council, Jonathan McColl, claimed he had saved the OOHs service. However the subsequent denial from the health board chairman and the private emails published under Freedom of Information show that Cllr McColl misled us all and the cuts are still on the table.

The key passage from the emails show that the chairman of the health board told staff to stick to the "agreed lines" when talking about the future of out-of-hours services ‘without saying what that will be or where it will be delivered from’. This is written down in black and white in a frank email exchange between health board officials discussing how to respond to stories in the local papers about the Vale of Leven Hospital.

So let me tell the board, we don't want the service at Paisley and we don't want the hours cut. Until that happens, I will continue to work alongside local campaigners and GPs to fight for the Vale of Leven Hospital