The Vale of Leven Hospital closed its out of hours service 179 times in 2019 – more than double from 2018, when only 82 closures were recorded.

Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie has raised this issue several times in previous years, as NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) continues to suffer from a lack of GPs.

Ms Baillie met with Jeane Freeman, health secretary, at the hospital last August, which resulted in Ms Freeman urging the NHS to allow out of hours cover to be arranged locally, rather than centrally by the health board.

The health board revealed last week it is recruiting GPs for the out of hours service.

In response to the under performance, Ms Baillie said: “It’s clear that despite promises by the health secretary and the health board to improve the out of hours service, it has continued to decline, with patients and staff suffering as a result.

“Local people value local health services, and time and time again residents have called on the health board to ensure that this service was staffed as a priority.

“I have raised this with SNP ministers time and time again, to be met with promises to resolve the problem, but it’s a promise they’ve broken over and over again.”

Ms Freeman has placed NHSGGC under special measures, after several other issues were raised at Holyrood.

In response to the closures, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We expect NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to take every possible measure to ensure they deliver a safe and sustainable out of hours service which meets the needs of the local population and staff.

“The health secretary has previously been very clear that out of hours services in Glasgow must improve, including the conditions under which GPs work in the out of hours service and introducing an appointments based system as is in place across the rest of Scotland.

“Calum Campbell, chief executive of NHS Lanarkshire, has been appointed with a specific remit to work with the board on the GP out of hours service, as part of its escalation to Stage 4 of the NHS Board Performance Framework.”

A spokesperson for NHSGGC said: “We are fully committed to ensuring that every patient across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde who requires GP out of hours care will get it.

“When a GP out of hours centre is closed, our GP home visiting service is available as normal for patients who were assessed by NHS 24 as requiring this.

“There is always transport available for patients who do not have access to their own transport.

“We have recently launched a campaign emphasising the need for patients to phone NHS 24 for an appointment with the GP out of hours service and not just walk in as this causes unnecessary delays for other patients.

“We are currently recruiting a number of salaried general practitioners specifically for the out of hours service. This model is available in other NHS boards across Scotland and we hope this will offer us more flexibility for staffing our GP out of hours service.”