PEOPLE in Helensburgh are facing round trips of up to 230 miles to get access to sexual health services, the town's MSP has claimed.

Jackie Baillie says patients in the area are being diverted to clinics as far away as Campbeltown, Oban and Lochgilphead after the town's specialist sexual health clinic was discontinued.

Residents requiring sexual health services were previously referred to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Sandyford Clinic, but this arrangement was terminated in 2015.

Until last year, services for patients from Helensburgh and Lomond were then provided at the East King Street-based Victoria Integrated Care Centre.

But these were suspended after the doctor in charge retired.

Ms Baillie, who is also Scottish Labour's health spokesperson, said: “It is unacceptable that residents in Helensburgh and Lomond should be directed to areas such as Oban and Campbeltown for provision of sexual health services.

“It is imperative that residents are able to easily access these services locally, in line with pledges made by NHS Highland when responsibility for service provision in Helensburgh and Lomond transferred to them.

“Services in Glasgow are already under pressure, but it is unthinkable and untenable for patients in Helensburgh and Lomond to be directed across NHS Highland for the care they need.”

Health bosses are also supporting GPs to provide some services locally.

Now patients are being urged to attend centres at NHS Highland's other three main locations in Argyll and Bute, while the area’s health and social care partnership attempts to persuade NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to host the service once more.

According to Ms Baillie the HSCP, which oversees primary care provision in the whole of Argyll and Bute, has cited the high level of specialism required to provide such services as the reason behind failure to reinstate the clinic, and has said it needs instead to be linked to a larger site, such as the Sandyford.

But the Glasgow clinic is already under pressure, with patients complaining of lack of availability since the Covid pandemic.

The Argyll and Bute HSCP has been contacted for comment.