Tom Herbert from Lenzie has worked tirelessly since 2005 to ensure patients battling cancer are given access to local services.
The Herald revealed before the pandemic how NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) has a framework agreement in place to make outpatient chemotherapy services available at Stobhill Hospital and community medical centres in East Dunbartonshire and North Glasgow. Tom is also campaigning for a direct bus link between East Dunbartonshire and Stobhill.
He said, “The focus at the moment, rightly, is on stopping the spread of Covid-19 and hopefully with the roll-out of the vaccine we will be able to get back to some sense of normality this year.
“While I appreciate - and fully support - that resources must be prioritised for the fight against Covid-19, I want to make sure we don’t lose any ground with the campaign.
“I was delighted to hear before the outbreak that NHSGGC has agreed to make outpatient chemotherapy services available at Stobhill Hospital and community medical centres (cancer hubs) in East Dunbartonshire and North Glasgow. I hope that can happen as soon as possible after this dreadful pandemic is under control.
“I’m also still campaigning for a direct bus link between East Dunbartonshire and Stobhill, and hope progress can be made on that front with the help of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, Sustrans and Rona Mackay - our local MSP, who has been very supportive of the campaign.
“Currently it costs around £16 return to travel by taxi from the Kirkintilloch area to Stobhill - where many local GPs refer their patients. The population numbers for East Dunbartonshire - over 100,000 - justify a direct service.
“There are direct services from Buchanan Bus Station to Stobhill - one via Possilpark and one via Robroyston - yet East Dunbartonshire has been denied a direct bus service. Why?”
There is an existing bus service - provided by McGill’s - from Cowgate, Kirkintilloch, to Glasgow, which Tom said could potentially be diverted via Stobhill. Similarly, a First bus service through Kirkintilloch and Bishopbriggs could include Stobhill.
Tom and Rona Mackay MSP previously met with Jonathan Best - NHSGGC Chief Operating Officer - at Stobhill, who confirmed chemo services would be provided locally in due course. Tom - who lost his wife, Margaret, in 2012 after an incredibly brave 22-year fight against breast cancer, added: “I just want to say another huge thank-you to Liz Gallacher and the Herald, and everyone who has supported the campaign. And massive thanks to everyone from NHSGGC who are on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19.”
The roots of Tom’s campaign go all the way back to the late 1990s, when he and Margaret joined forces with fellow campaigners Charles Kennedy, Lex Gaston and others - including former Herald editor Jim Holland.