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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 September, 2004, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Hospital service cuts scrutinised
Protesters outside the Scottish Parliament
The proposed closures have raised temperatures
Health chiefs in Glasgow have met opponents of their plans to centralise and close some hospital services.

NHS Greater Glasgow invited members of the public to its annual general meeting at the Royal Concert Hall, which was held on Thursday.

Amid budget concerns, the board intends to centralise Accident and Emergency services in two sites and close the Queen Mother's Maternity Hospital.

Campaigners believe the shake-up will put lives at risk.

The health board's plans could include the closure of 15 overnight beds at Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital.

The move would save 300,000 and is part of a range of measures to cut 58m from Glasgow's health spending this year.

Maternity cuts

But doctors at the hospital argue the overnight beds are vital in treating severely ill patients.

Glasgow's homeopathic hospital is the only one in the UK able to look after patients 24 hours a day and tackle complex cases which are not responding to conventional medicine.

Experts also recommended that the Queen Mother's Maternity Hospital should close because it was seen as no longer feasible to have three maternity hospitals in the city.

The board believes that by concentrating maternity services at the Southern General Hospital, mothers would benefit from the specialist treatment available there.

Board numbers

Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm has moved to reassure the public by saying he has the power to reject reorganisations as well as accept them.

Meanwhile, First Minister Jack McConnell has told MSPs there are too many health boards in Scotland.

Speaking during First Minister's Questions on Thursday, he said the number had created too many artificial boundaries.

A spokesman for Mr McConnell said there were no immediate plans to merge health boards, but they were being encouraged to work towards better co-ordination.




SEE ALSO:
Chisholm outlines reforms stance
21 Sep 04  |  Scotland
Labour MSP pleads for cuts freeze
10 Sep 04  |  Scotland
A&E protesters march on Holyrood
08 Sep 04  |  Scotland
'Human chain' hospital protest
04 Sep 04  |  Scotland
Protest over hospital shake-up
31 Jul 04  |  Scotland


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