This week's Community Column is written by Helensburgh and Lomond's constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie.

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NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s breast cancer strategy was presented to the board a few short weeks ago.

This is the first practical example of service change that gives us an insight into how their 'Moving Forward Together' programme might be delivered. And it makes for grim reading.

The proposal would see breast cancer services removed from the Vale of Leven and Inverclyde hospitals and centralised at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

This would force patients who have been referred for treatment to make the trip all the way to Paisley instead of being seen at their local hospital, as is currently the case.

There doesn’t appear to be a clinical reason for the change. It looks like it is simply a case of cutting costs at the expense of patients.

We already know that women from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to access breast screening. The concern is that we would open up a gap in treatment if the service was moved further away.

Breast cancer services are not the only ones at risk. The board’s Moving Forward Together programme reviews 32 service areas so patients from Helensburgh, the Vale of Leven and Dumbarton will potentially see more of the services currently available locally moved to hospitals further afield such as the RAH in Paisley or the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

This could mean greater disparity in those receiving treatment based on who can afford to travel to hospitals south of the river.

It is absolutely crucial that our local community is consulted on the shape of health service provision in our area. But the health board haven’t even bothered doing that so far.

I have written to the new Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeanne Freeman, to ask her to ensure that a full consultation exercise is carried out and that the ultimate decision is taken by ministers given the scale of the impact that this will have.

I am hopeful that the health board will make the right decision and put patients ahead of savings.