AN emergency motion to reinstate the GP out-of-hours service at the Vale of Leven Hospital was rejected by West Dunbartonshire Council’s SNP administration.

Conservative and Labour councillors joined forces to call for an urgent meeting to make sure that the hospital can operate a “proper out-of-hours service” and save local patients having to travel to hospitals in Paisley or Glasgow.

But the SNP informed members this was a temporary measure which is supposed to last four to five months to allow a health board to hire enough GPs to enable the service to fully operate again at the Vale facility.

The emergency motion was presented by Labour councillor David McBride on Wednesday.

It read: “West Dunbartonshire Council condemns the decision taken by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to close the GP out-of-hours service at the Vale of Leven Hospital in the evenings and at weekends.

“These are the busiest times for people accessing out-of-hours service, and they will have to travel to Paisley instead.

“We are disappointed that some 10 months later nothing has happened and call on the health board to work with the local GPs to reverse the decision to close the out-of-hours service.”

But the SNP said that this would damage a positive relationship with the health board. And they blamed the failure of the service on a policy introduced by the last Conservative government, which put a cap on the amount of money professional people can save in their pensions.

Leader of the council, councillor Jonathan McColl, said: “This is a temporary measure being taken across the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area while the board takes measures to recruit GPs specifically to carry out these roles.

“While these temporary measures are expected to last four to five months it is anticipated that a bespoke agreement will be reached much sooner for full out-of-hours services to be provided at the Vale of Leven Hospital.

“While these temporary measures are in place, transport to and from an open service will be provided when needed or if it is urgent a GP will attend at their home.

“A full seven-day service will now be provided overnight from midnight to 8am at the Vale of Leven Hospital.

“The tone of fighting the health board isn’t helpful.”

Following the meeting, Councillor Sally Page said the SNP government had been failing West Dunbartonshire residents for the last 13 years.

She said: “The SNP, on one hand, want to tax the better-off and, when it suits, blame a policy that does exactly that, rather than take responsibility for a health service they have been in charge of for 13 years failing the people of West Dunbartonshire.”