A BARRHEAD clinic offering emergency contraception and HIV preventative drugs has had its opening hours cut due to staff shortages.

The Sandyford Clinic, based at the Barrhead Health and Care Centre, is now only open on Mondays, forcing some local residents to go elsewhere for vital services.

Health chiefs insist they hope to be able to open the clinic again on Fridays once “staffing issues” have been resolved.

However, there are concerns that, in the meantime, some residents will be unable to access services.

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Maurice Golden, who represents Barrhead as part of his remit as West of Scotland MSP, also fears the cut in opening hours could ultimately lead to the clinic being shut down.

He told the Barrhead News: “It is extremely concerning that the Sandyford Clinic is now only open one day a week due to staff shortages.

“It also places an added burden on our hard-working NHS staff.

“The fear with these reduced opening hours is that it could lead to a potential closure in the future, so I would urge every effort to be made to avoid that possibility from happening.”

The Sandyford Clinic, in Main Street, also offers reproductive advice, appointments for women seeking terminations and counselling.

Barrhead News: Councillor Paul AitkenCouncillor Paul Aitken

Councillor Paul Aitken, who represents the town, said: “Sandyford Clinics deliver vital sexual health services and do a fantastic job.

"I am disappointed that the number of days per week, when the Barrhead clinic will be available, has been cut back to one day per week.

"I note that the Greenock clinic is open 3 days a week while the Paisley clinic is open 5 days a week.

"I would call upon Sandyford Clinic to do all it can to increase the number of days per week when these services are accessible in Barrhead as these are vital services.”

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It is one of a number of sexual health hubs that is suffering as NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) struggles to keep services going.

Health chiefs have been forced to close services in the Drumchapel, Pollok and Castlemilk areas of Glasgow, as well as another clinic in East Dunbartonshire, and have not been able to say when these will re-open.

A spokesperson for NHSGGC said: “Sandyford services are accessible to anyone within NHSGGC. Patients will be offered the first available appointment at a local clinic but can choose to attend any clinic of their choice.

“We currently run clinics from 14 different locations across Greater Glasgow and Clyde, including the Barrhead clinic. Due to staffing issues, we have temporarily had to reduce the clinic from two days a week to one.

“We continue to review this situation but, as of yet, do not have a date when we might return to the clinic running on both days. Every effort is being made to address the staffing issues and, in the meantime, patients are being offered appointments at other clinics.”

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