Christina McKelvie is urging her constituents around Hamilton to respond to a new consultation launched by NHS Lanarkshire: "This is an opportunity for people to have their say on proposals to provide a safe and high-quality Lanarkshire primary care out-of-hours service."
The consultation, which runs from 6 January to 6 April 2015, is the follow-up to a review of out-of-hours health services carried out last year.
According to NHS Lanarkshire, this service, accessed through NHS24 and the national 111 line, is facing "major challenges in the way it operates."
Says Christina McKelvie: "People need and deserve to have access to urgent medical services outwith the normal GP surgery times. There are clearly cracks in the current system that are tending to drive people towards already busy A&E departments. There is a need to look more closely at effective, cost-efficient ways of managing urgent health needs that are not actually emergencies.
"There will be eight open public meetings at a range of venues across Lanarkshire. I also encourage people to share their views through the online questionnaire at www.nhslanarkshire.org.uk/involved/consultation/OOH ."
NHS Lanarkshire is seeking views on two service models: one primary care out-of-hours centre at Douglas Street Community Health Clinic in Hamilton; or two primary care out-of-hours centres one of which would be in Airdrie Community Health Centre and the other in Douglas Street Community Health Clinic, Hamilton.
"So make sure that your views are made known so that we can refine the out-of-hours service into a system that will work for the people of the area and for the dedicated NHS staff who run it."
Craig Cunningham, Head of South Lanarkshire Community Health Partnership, NHS Lanarkshire, said: "Fewer and fewer GPs are working out of hours both in Lanarkshire and in other parts of Scotland. We have reached the point where it is becoming extremely difficult to provide a safe service. Staffing is extremely unpredictable which is affecting patients who often have to wait longer to be seen.
"These proposals would allow us to provide a more consistent service that makes the best use of staff to meet patients' needs and ensures they are seen sooner than is currently possible."