OUR latest Councillor Column comes from Lomond North independent councillor, George Freeman.

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LAST week’s Advertiser reported that Argyll and Bute’s health and social care partnership (HSCP) have decided that our local GP practices are not going to be allowed to deliver the Covid-19 booster vaccinations and decided that they will take that task on themselves “in house”.

In my own ward, that excludes the GP practices at Kilcreggan, Garelochhead and Arrochar from providing these important vaccinations to their own patients. Many of my constituents, like me, believe that these services should be delivered locally by our own GP staff.

I believe that it is totally unacceptable for the HSCP to centralise this service and to expect my constituents, many of whom are elderly, to travel to a central point to access these vaccinations.

The NHS receives funding from the Scottish Government to provide vaccinations which normally goes to those who deliver the vaccinations. I may be wrong but my understanding is that one of the reasons for retaining this work in house is so that the HSCP can retain the funding that goes with this work.

I have emailed senior officers at NHS Highland, the HSCP and the council with a range of questions on this issue but at the time of writing, I have not received a reply – or even an acknowledgement from any officer within these organisations.

READ MORE: Health bosses give update on Helensburgh and Lomond Covid booster vaccinations

Although the Advertiser tells us that GP practices are not going to be able to deliver these vaccinations, we have been given no information on where this service will be provided or who will be doing it.

Will many of my Lomond North constituents have to make return journeys of over 40 miles to receive this vaccination if, as in the past, this service is centralised in Helensburgh?

For those constituents who are registered with Helensburgh practices, it is accepted that they will have to travel to Helensburgh to receive these vaccinations. Those registered at Kilcreggan, Garelochhead and Arrochar GP practices should be able to access these vaccinations at their own GP practice, as was the case with first and second doses.

We see more and more services being centralised by the Scottish Government with social care services now heading the same way. It is more concerning when we now see local services being centralised. Where will this all end?

More than 10 years ago, along with many of my constituents, I fought long and hard, and successfully, to stop the closure of primary schools in Kilcreggan, Rosneath and Luss. We now hear suggestions for primary schools to lose their dedicated head teachers.

Is this the thin end of the wedge? I believe that such a cut would be unacceptable. I would encourage readers to make their views on any reductions to the number of head teachers known to their own ward councillors.

READ MORE: Public consultations to open on council's plans for Argyll and Bute schools