Rebuild or refurbish plans still on agenda say health bosses
The health of Monklands Hospital has been under the microscope for some time.
And as the facility marks its 40th birthday, fears for its long-term future have once again come to the fore in what has proved to be a turbulent 12 months.
Last September, hundreds of residents turned out for a “hands around the hospital” demonstration, opposing plans to “downgrade” the facility by removing its trauma and orthopaedic services.
Just weeks ago, staff expressed their “disgust” over the decision to move ward 24, the hospital’s acute adult in-patient psychiatry service, to Wishaw General.
Now this latest blow concerning millions of pounds worth of outstanding repairs gives renewed cause for concern.
However, health board officials are working on proposals for a new or substantially upgraded Monklands hospital, and NHS Lanarkshire chief executive Calum Campbell insists that plans for the new facility are on track.
He said: “Clinical and managerial staff are currently working on a business case to either rebuild or fully refurbish the hospital.
“The Scottish Government has welcomed our proposal and an updated initial agreement is being prepared to seek funding from the health directorate capital investment group.”
SNP politicians representing the two Monklands constituencies also sought to allay fears.
Coatbridge & Chryston MSP Fulton MacGregor said: “Monklands Hospital is now 40 years old which will inevitably bring its difficulties as a result of advances in modern medicine.
“There can be no compromise on patient safety, however, and I would like to thank once again the hard-working staff at the hospital for continuing to uphold to the highest standard the care and treatment given to patients at Monklands.
“I look forward the upcoming proposals for a new hospital in Monklands and will be working with colleagues in NHS Lanarkshire and the Scottish Government to ensure that this happens as quickly as possible.”
Neil Gray, the Airdrie & Shotts MP, echoed his party colleague’s sentiments.
He said: “Clearly the story is of concern, and I am keen to get reassurances from NHS Lanarkshire that patient safety has not been and will not be compromised.
“The plans for the new hospital are well in train and I am confident in NHS Lanarkshire delivering on their commitment by 2023.
“This only serves to confirm the need for the new hospital.”