THE GP out of hours service crisis affecting Inverclyde is escalating after the district was yet again left with no local cover.

Patients were this week forced to travel to Paisley's RAH were they waited for hours in the middle of the night - with only one GP on duty for the whole of Inverclyde, Paisley and Glasgow's south side.

The chair of Inverclyde's Joint Integration Board and member of the health board Jim Clocherty says the situation cannot be allowed to continue like this.

Councillor Clocherty said: "It is not acceptable.

"I raised this problem at the last health board meeting, again.

"There are huge problems with the GP out of hours service and it is getting worse.

"Inverclyde out of hours has been closed and our GPs are sent elsewhere to cover other areas.

"It seems to be based on geography rather than need.

"The bottom line is Inverclyde is not getting a good service."

The Tele reported in December how number of times the service in Inverclyde had been shut down soared over the last two years, with 142 closures from November 2018 to October 2019.

On Monday night the it was closed again, along with the service at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Only the RAH was open, with just one GP on duty.

Patients were left to wait for hours in a cold corridor, with not enough chairs to go round.

The health board has admitted that one doctor was left on their own for most of the night.

A spokesman told the Telegraph: “There was a team of two GPs alongside primary care nursing staff team working on Monday evening until midnight at the RAH.

"After midnight, there was one GP covering the RAH, as per normal requirements.

"Attendances at the site were not outwith recent figures, for the majority of evening, or early morning.

"When sites require increased support, additional GPs can be utilised, which occurred at one point on Monday evening.”

Bosses at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde insist they are taking action to fix the problems with the service but Inverclyde Joint Integration Board has demanded answers from them about the time being taken to review it.

The NHS GGC spokesperson said: "When a GP out of hours centre is closed, our GP home visiting service is available as normal for patients who were assessed by NHS 24 as requiring this.

"There is always transport available for patients who do not have access to their own transport.

"We are taking a number of steps to address issues impacting the delivery of GP out of hours across NHS GGC.

"We have recently seconded Susan Manion, chief officer at East Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership, to provide senior leadership to the service and deliver a sustainable GP service, based on the recommendations from the Sir Lewis Ritchie review.

"We are also recruiting within a range of disciplines to support current levels of patient care available in the area.

"There are also a number of further developments under way in primary and community services which will offer people a wider range of choice in terms of getting the support they need out of hours."