PATIENTS in Inverclyde suffering from broken bones were told to travel up to 30 miles for treatment until the Tele stepped in.

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde made an appeal urging people across area to avoid A&E at Inverclyde Royal unless their situation was life-threatening.

They were instead urged to visit one of the health board's minor injury clinics.

But with local people facing an hour-long journey to the nearest site, under fire health chiefs were forced to release new advice after local councillor Chris McEleny raised the alarm.

When the Tele contacted the health board, they issued new advice telling people from Inverclyde to phone NHS 24 first before going to the IRH.

Councillor McEleny, who has been a leading figure in the fight against hospital cuts, said: "The health board is in a heightened level of special measures, and a major part of that is to do with poor communication.

"People in Inverclyde should be entitled to accurate information, not told they need to travel to the Vale of Leven or Glasgow to visit a minor injuries unit to have injuries such as broken limbs treated when we have an A&E on our doorstep.

“We also shouldn’t constantly have to rely on politicians and the Greenock Telegraph raising matters with the health board to get the correct information, but thankfully again on this occasion due to the Telegraph pressing the board on the matter we have clarity.

“I understand that A&E is under immense pressure and I thank our NHS staff every day but we really do need to make sure that people feel confident to go there if they need to and don’t put off being looked at. “

The minor injury clinics are in Vale of Leven, the new Victoria Hospital and Stobhill - all around 30 miles away and almost an hour's drive.

Now people living locally who need to go to casualty are being advised to dial NHS 24 for advice first, before making their way to the IRH's A&E.

A spokesman said: "Patients in Inverclyde can still attend the local A&E for minor injuries, however, given current pressures, there may be a significant wait.

"If it’s not life threatening, call NHS 24 on 111 where you will receive the appropriate advice on where to seek treatment.

"Members of the public are reminded that the way they can access urgent care has changed recently.

"This means that if your condition isn’t life threatening, you should call NHS 24 on 111, day or night, to access the right care.

"During the day people can also contact their GP practice"

In the original message the health board sent out they urged people to avoid A&E because staff were struggling to cope with demand.