A WARD at the Vale of Leven Hospital could be used as a back-up if the coronavirus pandemic worsens.

Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton and the Vale’s MSP, says health chiefs have confirmed to her that use of ward six is being considered as an option.

The Labour politician met health board chiefs on Friday when a range of moves were discussed on how best to deal with the crisis.

Ms Baillie said the board also revealed plans are being drawn up for retired healthcare professionals, as well student staff members, to be brought in and placed in frontline positions.

Specialist-trained staff will also be moved to frontline care.

Ms Baillie also urged the health board to expand the current levels of testing in order to gain a more accurate idea of the scale of the problem and ensure that healthcare and social care workers are urgently tested so that they are safe to be at work.

She restated her demands that the Vale of Leven out of hours service be reopened to run at full capacity, especially given the increased need for local residents to see a GP.

Ms Baillie told the Reporter the meeting with Jane Grant, chief executive, Jonathan Best, chief operating officer for acute services, and John Brown, chairman, had been constructive.

She added: “Given the sharp daily rises in the number of coronavirus cases that we are seeing, it would be counterintuitive for the health board not to use all of the resources that they have available to them.

“I also reiterated my demands for the Vale of Leven out of hours service to be restored to its full opening hours.

“It is utterly unacceptable that my constituents are having to travel to Stobhill hospital in Springburn or the Victoria hospital in the southside of Glasgow in order for them to see an out of hours GP.”

Jonathan Best, chief operating officer of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “We are considering the use of all of our facilities, resources and staff in order to treat patients.”

Mr Best said the board wanted to thank all staff at the hospital for continuing to care for patients in response to COVID-19.

He added: "We are working with GPs to reinstate a robust out of hours service as soon as possible."