It's been a tough time for residents in Helensburgh and Lomond, with bad news about services in the area breaking in abundance.

The mail bag at my constituency office has been bulging with correspondence from worried members of the public on a variety of fronts.


Concerned patients who use the services of Boots The Chemist's Sinclair Street branch, got in touch to voice their concerns.

It appears that the closure of the second branch of the chemist further up Sinclair Street last year, sparked an influx of additional patients to the main store.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Boots in Sinclair Street, and the now closed branch nearbyBoots in Sinclair Street, and the now closed branch nearby (Image: Newsquest)

Patients awaiting the dispensing of medication have reported growing waits for prescriptions to be filled as under-pressure staff struggle to keep up with demand.

I have raised these difficulties with Boots' management team, as well as with NHS Highland.

Health services

Both residents and clinicians have also questioned NHS Highland's commitment to the delivery of health services in Helensburgh and Lomond.

I previously raised the lack of provision of sexual health services in the area after it emerged that some residents were being asked to travel as far as Lochgilphead, Campbeltown and Oban for treatment.

Now clinicians have also expressed concern over a rising number of STIs amongst the local population.

GPs and their staff have been expected to take on responsibility for Sexual and Women's Health services since clinics previously provided at the Victoria Integrated Care Centre, ceased.

These clinics ended when the consultant overseeing services retired last year, leaving GPs and staff to take up the slack.

But clinicians say they are not specialists in the field and lack appropriate training.

They have also accused the health board of failing to support them and revealed they are no longer even able to offer free condoms after supplies were cut.

I have now highlighted these issues with NHS Highland for the second time in as many months and urged the board to find an acceptable solution.

NHS Highland committed to providing mainstream services locally to Helensburgh and Lomond when the area became part of their catchment and if they cannot or will not do so, then the Scottish Government must step in.

RBS closure

Retail banking services have also come under the spotlight once again, after the Royal Bank of Scotland announced the closure of their Colquhoun Square branch in August.

Understandably, residents are up-in-arms over the plan, which would leave the Bank of Scotland - also in Colquhoun Square - as the only retail branch in Helensburgh.

I entirely sympathise with all those who are against the closure, especially older residents who require in-branch services. I strongly believe all banking customers should have access to a local branch.

Helensburgh Advertiser: The branch will close on September 25The branch will close on September 25 (Image: Google Maps)

It is my intention to meet with RBS bosses to raise the concerns of residents directly and demand retention of the branch in Helensburgh.

On a lighter note (no pun intended), I was heartened to hear that Helensburgh's respected Dorrian Choir is set to celebrate its 75th anniversary with a forthcoming concert on May 3 and I would like to take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to all involved.