Dumbarton’s MSP has called for NHS Greater Glasgow (NHSGGC) to make better use of the Vale of Leven Hospital.

Jackie Baillie says it isn’t operating at full capacity, and could be used to reduce pressure on other hospitals in the health board’s area.

Recent figures from Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland show that more than a thousand people waited longer than four hours in A&E departments run by NHSGGC.

Just 84.6 per cent of people were treated within the government’s four hour target time during the week beginning January 14, a decrease on the previous two weeks, and the third worst week over the previous three months.

Ms Baillie said: “It is disappointing that thousands of patients are being expected to wait longer than four hours at A&E departments across Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

“The Met Office are predicting that temperatures across Scotland will begin to drop, with a ‘Beast from the East’ replica not being ruled out.

“We know that the staff and service at the Vale of Leven hospital are first class and it seems an obvious answer for the health board to invest in the Vale and reduce the pressure on other hospitals.

The Vale of Leven Hospital has a busy Minor Injuries Unit and Medical Assessment Unit but patients from the Vale’s catchment area with more serious conditions are having to travel to Paisley if they require a trip to A&E.

Ms Baillie added: “Cold weather brings increased pressure on A&E departments so the health board should prepare for this now and utilise the Vale of Leven hospital.”

A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Hospitals across Greater Glasgow and Clyde, like all hospitals across the UK, are extremely busy with winter pressures from the flu, respiratory infections and norovirus.

“We planned for these winter pressures by creating extra capacity, such as extra inpatient beds and additional staff.

“Our winter plan is designed to create extra resilience and enable us to respond to these additional pressures and open additional in-patient beds where appropriate.

“These winter beds are currently being used as part of our response to the winter pressures we are experiencing.

“Due to the high level of demand, a number of our patients have waited longer than we would have liked to be seen, diagnosed, treated and either admitted or discharged and we apologise to those patients who experienced lengthy waits.

“Reducing the length of time our patients need to wait to been seen in our Emergency Department is a key priority for NHSGGC.”