Local MSP Jackie Baillie raised the lack of cover at the Vale of Leven Out of Hours service in the Scottish Parliament this week with Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.

This followed the revelation made by Jackie that the Vale Out of Hours service had been closed 123 days this year, between January and September alone. It is expected that this number has risen as there were closures in October and November.

Jackie Baillie MSP said: “It's shocking that the Vale Out of Hours service has been closed on 123 days this year. In fact, it's been closed more often than it's been open.

"Our NHS staff do fantastic work, under enormous pressure, despite the lack of resources to support them. But if the Out of Hours service is closed people end up going to A&E when they could be seen somewhere else and this puts even more pressure on the system.

“I have raised the lack of out of hours cover with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde numerous times before, it’s clear that they are incapable of organising out-of-hours rotas. The GP out of hours service, is the most basic of emergency services, it’s simply unacceptable that this service has been closed so often.

“While I welcome the decision to recruit more GP’s, only recruiting 7 out of a target of 70 since September is a drop in the ocean.

“The Health Secretary responded positively to my request for action and I intend to meet with her soon to ensure that we have an Out of Hours service that local people can rely on.”