West Dunbartonshire Council’s leader has drawn criticism for missing almost two thirds of health board meetings in the last year.

According to council attendance registers stretching from June 2017 to last week, Councillor Jonathan McColl has attended around 36 per cent, or seven out of a possible 19, meetings of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board and its sub-committees since he took over.

The absences come at a time of change to periods of service that will have an impact on Vale of Leven Hospital, including the approval of the “Moving Forward Together” programme, which will change how services are delivered.

Records show Cllr McColl was not at the meeting of the health board which passed the implementation of the scheme.

Information regarding what services will continue to be administered from the hospital has yet to be communicated to the community.

Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie said: “It is indefensible that our council leader has attended about a third of the meetings. Our community deserves to be represented when these critical decisions are being made about the future of our local services.

“It is time that Cllr McColl took his role more seriously.”

In response to criticism, Cllr McColl said: “Ordinarily, councillors on the board only sit on two committees plus appeals, and this was rectified when committee memberships were reviewed in the spring. I’ve also sat on four appeal panels and attended dozens of other meetings and briefing sessions not mentioned by Ms Baillie.

“As you would expect, I prioritise my time between the NHS and council. The chairperson made it clear to me from the outset that it is recognised that councillors, especially council leaders have other time pressures and that he would not expect me to attend every meeting.“I continue to have the confidence of the NHSGGC chairperson as a valued member of the board. My contribution in my first year has been greater than that of my predecessors’ in the previous five.

"I’ve made direct positive impact on health board business and working in partnership with the chairperson and chief executive, I’ve safeguarded the future of the Vale of Leven Hospital.

“I am the only council leader to elicit a public written guarantee from an NHSGGC health board chairperson that the Vale of Leven Hospital will continue to provide vital health and care services to our residents; and the current joint publicity campaign between the health board and the council, promoting our hospital’s services, is unprecedented and in stark contrast to the constant unconstructive negativity generated by Jackie Baillie MSP.”