TUCKED away in a quiet corner of the east end of Glasgow is Lightburn Hospital. It’s not a glamorous place. It’s not like Holby City where impossibly handsome doctors and nurses get angst-ridden about their complicated love lives while conducting open-heart surgery. Lightburn is where the essential grind of medicine takes place, the slow hard work of rehabilitation following a long illness, the nursing care required by the elderly and the infirm, and the support and love needed by those reaching the end of their lives.

I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Lightburn and its dedicated staff. It’s where my late partner Andy spent the last couple of months of his life as he succumbed to vascular dementia, and where he died in early September 2014.

The final weeks and days of Andy’s time were marked by the care and understanding of the nurses, doctors and auxiliary staff of Lightburn, who made him feel appreciated and understood, and who held his hand and mine as we embarked on the last steps of our journey together.

They were there for us when we still had hope that Andy might recover. They were there for us when it became clear that his condition was terminal and the end was approaching. They were there for us in his last hours, making him comfortable, ensuring he was not afraid. However, the hospital is now threatened with closure.

The health board, in its wisdom, has decided it is surplus to requirements and proposes to shut down the site. Gradually, services and funding have been run down. The proposal is to transfer services to Stobhill, but Stobhill is in the north of the city and is poorly served by public transport from the east end, an area which has one of the lowest incidences of car ownership in the country.

Getting to Stobhill from my flat in the east end, requires two bus journeys. Lightburn is a walk away, and that meant I was able to be with Andy every day of his last days, every day of our last days together. If he had been in Stobhill, I wouldn’t have been able to visit him every day. The cost alone would have been prohibitive, existing as I was at the time on a meagre £70 a week carer’s allowance. I couldn’t have afforded more than £7 a day in bus fares.

Thousands of people survive on low incomes in the east end of Glasgow. It’s an area which is famously deprived. Closing Lightburn means that potentially thousands of people who live there are deprived even further – deprived of the chance to spend a few hours in the company of loved ones whose time remaining is limited. We’re used to cuts in public services, but that would be the cruellest cut of all.

The decision by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to close down Lightburn not only strips away a vital community resource from the heart of the east end, it also threatens to strip out the hearts of east enders and deprive them of time with family members who are dying. That is time that is limited, time that is running out, time that they’ll never have again.

Economic decisions have a human cost. The cost of closing Lightburn is a cost in grief and tears. The health board has tried to close Lightburn before, but was overruled in 2011 by Nicola Sturgeon, who was minister for health in the Scottish Government at the time. If she hadn’t made that decision, Andy’s final days on this Earth would have been very different. They’d have been lonely, isolated, and fearful because I wouldn’t have been able to be at his bedside every day. The reasons she gave for overruling the board’s decisions – reasons of access for the local population, reasons of keeping health services as local possible, reasons of providing effective and accessible rehabilitative care – remain exactly the same today as they were in 2011.

Local MSP Ivan McKee is organising a campaign to keep Lightburn open. The official consultation period is over, but it’s still not too late to make representations to NHSGGC to tell them to keep Lightburn open.

The board meeting to discuss the closure is next week. Write to the Health Board at Patient Experience Public Involvement and Quality, 4th Floor West Glasgow ACH, Dalnair Street, Glasgow, G3 8SJ, or send an email to Public.Involvement@ggc.scot.nhs.uk In the hours after Andy passed away, while I was waiting for the necessary paperwork to be completed, I stood outside Lightburn Hospital on a bleak September’s day and wept as an early autumn leaf fell from a tree and landed on my shoulder. And Lightburn’s staff were there for me. Every day, the people who work in Lightburn, who make that hospital what it is, provide that intensely personal service to the people of the east end of Glasgow.

They hold our hands in the fearful nights. They’re with us as we struggle to recover. They’re there for us when all hope is lost and ensure we know that we are not alone. Lightburn’s staff have been at our side, they’ve always been there for us. Let’s be there for them now. Support the campaign to keep Lightburn open.