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The Evening Times are reporting: 1000 patients protest over closure of hospital's gates
ALMOST 1000 patients have joined a protest after health bosses shut a hospital entrance used by people with walking difficulties.
The closure of the gate at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital means elderly people and those with foot problems face a 10-minute walk to another entrance.
So many people complained about the closure of the gate that reception staff at the hospital's busiest out-patients department - podiatry - organised a petition.
Nearly 1000 patients have signed up in a bid to force health bosses to reopen the gate.
Around 160 people with foot injuries are treated at the unit every day.
The gate at the Clyde Tunnel side of the hospital on Moss Road had been used as a through-route to various hospital departments for 40 years.
But bosses decided to shut the gate for safety and security reasons.
The decision followed an accident in which a car towing a boat ploughed into the gate and railings, causing severe damage.
Robert Smith, 78, of Cardonald, is among the out-patients affected by the gate closure.
He said: "I can understand if there are security concerns but it has caused a lot of problems for patients.
"I have problems with both feet so I visit the podiatry department every few weeks."
Chiropody outpatient Christina Donaldson, of Craigton, said: "I come here every four to six weeks. It's very inconvenient because I get a bus which drops me off at Moss Road but I have to walk all the way around the hospital to get in.
"It takes about 10 minutes. It's not so bad for me but there are lots of people with mobility problems and it's very unfair on them."
Nancy Connelly, 72, of Mosspark, said: "I didn't realise the gate was closed off and I've just had to walk all the way round the hospital to get here.
"I'm really annoyed about it. A lot of old people come here on the bus."
The closure of the gate leaves four other entrances - the main one on Govan Road and others at Shieldhall Road, Langlands Road and Hardgate Road.
A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow said: "The South Glasgow division, in conjunction with the police, recently carried out a review of security across the Southern General Hospital site.
"One of the recommendations arising from this was that we close off a number of access points to improve security.
"As a result, one of the three pedestrian gateways, alongside the podiatry department, has now been closed off.
"There was also the issue of safety. This gate is near a very busy junction."
PLANS to move a podiatry clinic in a Monmouthshire town to a venue six miles away could make it difficult for elderly patients to attend, say health watchdogs.
Gwent Community Health Council will urge health bosses to look again for an alternative facility in Usk to host the weekly clinic.
Gwent Healthcare Trust wants to relocate the clinic from its current base at the town's James House GP surgery, due to restrictions on using its treatment room.
But a proposal to move it to Raglan surgery has met opposition.
Around 90 patients use the weekly half-day service, many in their 80s and 90s.
Some do not mind the change, but many told the CHC they will be unable to attend at Raglan or be seriously inconvenienced, mainly due to transport issues.
The clinic provides a range of foot care services vital in helping many patients, particularly the elderly, maintain good mobility.
The trust fears restrictions at James House, meaning only six patients can be seen per session, will make waiting times targets for this service - falling to maximum 13 weeks by December 2009 - extremely difficult to meet.
The Raglan option would double podiatry clinic provision there to two half-day sessions a week.
The CHC will finalise its position at a special Monmouthshire area committee meeting on Monday January 28, at Usk's Glan-yr-afon Hotel, at 4.30pm. Patients and public are welcome.
A CHC report recommends that Monmouthshire Local Health Board and the podiatry service look again at alternative sites in Usk, despite the trust claiming there are none suitable.
It also wants future plans for a primary care resource centre in Usk to include a podiatry suite capable of serving Usk and surrounding communities, including Raglan.