The past week has been hugely uncertain for the staff and patients of the Fruin and Katrine wards at the Vale of Leven Hospital, as well as for all the family members who have loved ones on these wards.

Last week, I was contacted by staff at the hospital. They had been told by managers that the Fruin and Katrine dementia wards at the Vale were to be re-located to Glasgow, along with all the staff and patients on these wards.

I immediately wrote to the Health Board as well as to Jeane Freeman, the Cabinet Secretary for Health. It turns out that it was the West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) that was responsible for this short-sighted proposal.

My responsibility as your MSP is to protect staff and patients at the Vale of Leven Hospital. But more than that, as a local resident, the Vale is my hospital too.

It has been there for my family and I on many occasions over the years and protecting the hardworking staff, local residents that rely on it, and the services that it provides has always been one of my biggest priorities.

I am pleased to confirm that, at least for the immediate future, these wards have avoided closure, which will come as a huge relief to all involved. I am grateful to the Health Minister for her intervention and support.

But the local health and social care partnership must apologise to the Fruin and Katrine wards for the way this whole situation was handled.

Some staff heard of this news on social media rather than from the HSCP itself. This is no way to treat our frontline workers.

I welcomed the opportunity to raise the ward closure proposal with Nicola Sturgeon and she gave a commitment that these wards will be protected.

At least for now, this is a story with a happy ending – but it could so easily have gone the other way.

Now, more than ever before, local people need to have local access to vital health services. The Vale is a life line for many of us and I will stand alongside local people and oppose any reduction or removal of its services.