Parents from Fife are leading the fight against plans to merge cleft lip and palate surgical services by launching a petition against the controversial move.
The Courier previously revealed how a leaked NHS Scotland paper raised the prospect of services being centralised at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, meaning that parents of children affected on the east coast would be deprived of the current provision at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.
The switch from two sites to just one location is now apparently being pursued, despite assurances that there would be no merger, and that has prompted mums and dads in Fife to speak out against the plans.
Almost 2,500 people from across Scotland have signed a petition started by Dunfermline woman Evonne McLatchie, who is firmly against the plans, and more are expected to follow.
“A super-sized hospital does not guarantee a super service,” she said.
“As a parent I would rather my child be in an old hospital with wonderful staff and a world renowned surgeon than a state of the art hospital with potentially longer waiting lists.”
She added that the switch may be the “thin end of the wedge”, suggesting that parents were now fearful that, despite assurances to the contrary, local cleft support clinics will be closed and all routine appointments would be in Glasgow if the surgical service moves to Glasgow.
The cause to stop the merger has also been championed by Kirkcaldy woman Allison Wardlaw, 34, whose son Nathan, 4, was born with a cleft palate.
“We need local services for our children with as little disruption to their everyday life for both them and their families,” she stressed.
“Glasgow is not practical for schooling, siblings, family, and it assumes we all drive.
“Money and budgets don’t matter to cleft families, it’s our cleft children whose needs come first.”
A spokesman for NHS National Services Scotland previously said: “It is essential to have a service that can be properly staffed and resourced to provide a high-quality, sustainable service for the long-term for NHS Scotland.
“Specialist services like this, with a few complex operations a year, often benefit from concentrating surgical skills in one place.”