A list of 19 hospital wards and NHS units across Scotland which have faced closure or downgrade as staff cuts take their toll have been unveiled in new research by Labour.
Among the services at the centre of concerns include the Children’s Ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and Inverclyde Hospital, prompting fresh concerns over a shortage of doctors, nurses and other health professionals.
The Scottish Government insisted that NHS funding is at a record high, but said local health boards must configure services which best meet local needs.
But Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar MSP said: “Our amazing NHS staff and patients are feeling the consequences of a decade of SNP mismanagement of our NHS. They have overseen a workforce crisis that has left staff overworked, undervalued, under-resources and also underpaid.
“This is now directly impacting on NHS services and patient care too. Over recent weeks in particular we have seen hospital services being cut and wards being forced to close due to a shortage of staff.
“The SNP is breaking its promises to the people of Scotland to protect valued NHS services. Before an election, Nicola Sturgeon promises voters NHS services won’t close – only to stand back as they face closure after polling day.”
Among the institutions which have faced closures or are still under threat include the Royal Hospital for Children at the new Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow.
Meanwhile, Caithness Maternity Unit faces being downgraded to a midwife-led unit, while Gilbert Bain hospital in Shetland is facing a ward closure.
Nursing and doctors leaders in Scotland have issued warnings in recent years about the impact of funding cuts on the NHS.
A spokesman for health secretary Shona Robison said: “Under the SNP government, NHS funding has hit a record high level, and we’ll increase it further – unlike Labour’s plan for NHS investment at the last Scottish election that was worse than even the Tories.
“We’ve also helped to deliver record numbers of doctors, nurses and other staff across the NHS in Scotland and, in June, published a detailed framework for improving workforce planning across the country.”
He added: “It is for individual health boards to plan and deliver services that meet the needs of local people, and it is right for boards keep local services under review to ensure they are of the highest quality.”
Closures and downgrades threatened
• St John’s Hospital Childrens Ward: Closure of ward
• Royal Alexandria Childrens Ward: Closure of ward
Royal Hospital for Children - QEUH: Closure of ward
• Dr Gray’s Maternity Unit: Threat of downgrade
• Yorkhill MIU: Closure of unit
• Galloway Community Hospital: Suspended admissions and A&E downgrade
• Caithness Maternity Unit: Downgrade to midwife-led unit
• Mulberry Unit at Stracathro Hospital: Closure of unit
• NHS Grampian: Cancellation of operations due to nurse shortage
• Gilbert Bain Hospital, Shetland: Ward closure
• Wishaw General, Monklands and Hairmyres: Risks highlighted due to doctor shortage
• NHS Ayrshire and Arran: Staff struggling due to staff shortage
• Kirkcaldy Medical Centre: Closure due to GP shortage
• NHS Tayside: Service change as result of staffing shortage
• Perth Royal Infirmary: Ward closures due to nurse shortage
• Scottish Care Homes: Staffing shortage leading to bed blocking
• Vale of Leven Maternity: Changes to maternity services
• Inverclyde Hospital: Threats of closure
• Neonatal services: Nine out of 12 neonatal are also losing intensive care facilities