Min­is­ter an­nounces a re­view into plans for hospi­tal’s fu­ture

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By LEWIS MCKENZIE

An in­de­pen­dent re­view will be held into the de­ci­sion process on Mon­k­lands Hospi­tal, the health sec­re­tary has an­nounced.

NHS La­nark­shire bosses aimed to ei­ther re­place or re­fur­bish the hospi­tal in Air­drie, with a new fa­cil­ity at Gart­cosh hav­ing emerged as the lead­ing op­tion.

How­ever, the pro­pos­als were met by protests, with cam­paign­ers call­ing for any new hospi­tal to be built on the ex­ist­ing site.

Health sec­re­tary Jeane Free­man re­sponded to a 20-page let­ter from Neil Gray MP and Alex Neil MSP call­ing for her to in­ter­vene.

Mr Gray and Mr Neil, both rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Air­drie & Shotts con­stituency, raised their con­cerns about the man­ner of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process con­ducted by the NHS board.

Ms Free­man con­firmed she would agree to the re­quest and has now started a re­view process.

She said: “In or­der to re­tain pub­lic con­fi­dence in this process it is clearly im­por­tant that th­ese con­cerns are prop­erly con­sid­ered and re­sponded to.

“I have there­fore asked the chief ex­ec­u­tive of NHS Scot­land to es­tab­lish a re­view in or­der to pro­vide me with an in­de­pen­dent assess­ment of the con­sul­ta­tion.

“Re­port­ing back to me, it will de­ter­mine whether the process has been con­sis­tent with best prac­tice, and if it has prop­erly taken the views of all stake­hold­ers into ac­count at all rel­e­vant stages.

“Fur­ther de­tails on the scope, timescale and lead­er­ship of this re­view will be con­firmed in due course.”

Mr Gray said: “I am de­lighted that Jeane Free­man has agreed to our re­quest to in­struct an in­de­pen­dent re­view of NHS La­nark­shire’s pro­cesses re­gard­ing the new Mon­k­lands Hospi­tal.

“Alex and I have been cam­paign­ing hard for months with lo­cal vol­un­teers to see the Gart­cosh op­tion off the ta­ble as it is clear it is op­posed by the pub­lic and politi­cians.

“There are also gap­ing holes in the sup­posed facts and ar­gu­ments for Gart­cosh, as we have ex­posed in our 20-page sub­mis­sion.”

Mr Neil said: “This re­view is very wel­come. I am now call­ing on all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties rep­re­sent­ing North La­nark­shire to unite be­hind the cam­paign to ditch Gart­cosh as a se­ri­ous op­tion for the lo­ca­tion of the new hospi­tal.

“It is very clear that the vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple in the Mon­k­lands area do not want Gart­coshas­the­site­forthe­new hospi­tal. We must en­sure that the re­view is ro­bust and gives due weight to the strength of pub­lic opin­ion on this mat­ter.”

Neena Ma­hal, chair of NHS La­nark­shire, said: “We wel­come the Scot­tish Govern­ment’s on­go­ing com­mit­ment to the re­place­ment or re­fur­bish­ment of Univer­sity Hospi­tal Mon­k­lands.

“It is im­por­tant that our stake­hold­ers have con­fi­dence in the process and the out­come. We there­fore wel­come an in­de­pen­dent re­view of the process and look for­ward to pro­gress­ing this much-needed fa­cil­ity for the peo­ple of La­nark­shire as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Mon­k­lands Hospi­tal will be re­placed or re­fur­bished

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