Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Opponents of cleft lip surgery centralisation present petition

Cleft palate protest outside Holyrood
Image caption Ruth Davidson was among MSPs who met protestors outside Holyrood

A petition opposing proposals to close cleft lip and palate surgery services in Edinburgh has been presented to the Scottish Parliament.

Supporters of the 6,200-signature petition staged a protest outside Holyrood ahead of a parliamentary debate on the issue.

They claim a consultation on plans to centralise cleft palate and lip surgery in Glasgow was a sham.

The Scottish government said it had not yet made a decision on the matter.

Almost 100 babies are born every year in Scotland with a cleft lip or palate.

Surgery can help them talk and eat.

Scotland currently has two clinics - in Edinburgh and Glasgow - which specialise in these surgical procedures.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Almost 100 babies are born every year in Scotland with a cleft lip or palate

Following a consultation earlier this year, NHS chief executives endorsed plans to centralise the services in Glasgow.

MSP Miles Briggs' motion to the parliament "expresses concern" at their decision.

It highlights the worries of patients, parents and clinicians and calls on Health Secretary Shona Robison to "intervene and pause" centralisation plans.

The move would allow further consideration and ensure that the "specialist expertise, knowledge and care" in Edinburgh is not lost.

Petitioners have warned that centralisation could hit east-coast families in the pocket, as they will have to travel to Glasgow for surgery.

They claim it would impact on family life, cause childcare problems, and would be unfair on the patients themselves.

Evonne McLatchie, whose teenage son was born with a cleft, started the petition.

She said: "Centralisation is not in the best interest of any cleft patient in Scotland. The two sites single service must be given a true opportunity to work."

The final decision rests with the Scottish government.

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