COMMUNITY campaigners have won an apology from health board bosses after being snubbed by them.

Tommy Rodger, secretary of Port Glasgow West Community Council, says the group's request for a representative to attend their meetings were rebuffed THREE times.

Mr Rodger says the association has raised concerns about the future of Inverclyde Royal and it is an issue that local people want to see addressed.

But his pleas to NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde to provide clarity were ignored.

He said: "It is our belief that increased infrastructure and repair costs will continually exceed the shortage of finances, and that the reduction in delivery of local acute services mean that the IRH will face a death by a thousand cuts.

"Early last year we invited Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS chairperson John Brown and chief executive Jane Grant to three monthly community council meetings in a row, without success.

"Later, in autumn last year we were invited to go to their offices in Glasgow.

"We rejected this Glasgow, as it did not achieve what we were seeking - to give Port Glasgow and Inverclyde patients, carers, and visitors, the opportunity to put their concerns to the NHS managers directly."

Mr Rodger said he had been promised that bosses would finally come along to a meeting due to be held on Monday evening, then everything went quiet.

He said: "We have had no reply to our emails.

"Therefore, not having enough time to promote our meeting with the NHS, we have now had to amend our agenda.

"Along with our extended invitation to the NHS, we have agreed to write to all our elected members, Inverclyde Council, MSP and list MSPs and MP and if necessary the health minister at the Scottish Government, stating our concerns at being rebuffed by a government service agency.

"Community councils in Scotland are the third tier of government, and as such we should be advised of all planning and changes in service delivery.

"We have never had any contact with the NHS GGC and acute management.

"This situation has to change.

"We will not be denied the opportunity for our Port Glasgow community to be heard."

When the Tele challenged the health board on the matter they issued an apology.

Mr Rodger said: "I received an apologetic email for the delay in contacting us about Monday's meeting.

"They named three senior officers who were to attend.

"I returned their email saying that it came too late, was far too short notice and left us no opportunity to promote our meeting."

Tommy now hopes to line up talks for next month.

He said: "I have extended an invitation to those three senior NHS staff, to attend our February meeting."

A spokesperson for the health board said: "We are delighted to accept Port Glasgow West Community Council’s invitation to their February meeting.

"We did accept an invitation to the January meeting, however this has been put back to the following month.

"It is unfortunate that diary commitments on both sides have meant it’s not been possible to agree an earlier opportunity for us to meet.

"Our chief operating officer Jonathan Best will attend what we hope is a fruitful and beneficial meeting where we can reiterate our commitment to the future of the Inverclyde Royal Hospital and serving the health needs of the local community."