HEALTH BOARD ACCUSED OF RIGGING CONSULTATION ON SITE OF NEW HOSPITAL
want the new hospital at Gartcosh. I wouldn’t be surprised if they even suggested to staff how to vote because this whole process has been a stitch-up from beginning to end – the biggest stitch-up in history.”
Mr Neil claims the health board tried to scupper the Glenmavis site by over-inflating the costs of groundwork. He said: “NHS Lanarkshire pulled every stunt imaginable.” The pair also accuse the health board of slashing travel times to Gartcosh to make it appear more accessible; ignoring a planned £190 million road which would make Glenmavis easier to get to, and underestimating the cost of a culvert at Gartcosh.
Thirteen public consultation meetings have taken place in recent months. A “core” group of 53 people was set up to assess potential sites, and whittled the list down to the three sites. Mr Neil and Mr Gray say 27 were health management or staff. Four were members of the project team.
Mr Gray called for an inquiry into the consultation, adding: “The 53 people who were asked to ‘score’ were handpicked by NHS Lanarkshire. Our concern is that so many of them are health ‘experts’, not ordinary patients from the hospital catchment area.” Mr Bartlett, chairman of Glenmavis-based vegetable company Albert Bartlett, challenged the findings of the health board’s report into the cost of preparing his land for construction work. He commissioned his own report then told the health board to remove their claims, describing them as “potentially damaging to future projects”.
He said: “I was happy to offer my land to the NHS as the public in this area have had a local hospital for more than 40 years and I would like to see that continue. I have stayed out of the public debate despite my misgivings about the decisionmaking process by the NHS. “But I am not prepared to have my land tarnished by an Nhs-commissioned report from individuals who have never set foot on the site. “I have provided the NHS with a report from leading consultants who have actually surveyed the land.
“This reports paints a very different picture to what the NHS and their advisers assert and I have asked them to include this factual report in their consultation process.
“Despite this, my offer of land remains and I am prepared to work with the NHS to deliver a world-class hospital for the Monklands public.” NHS Lanarkshire rejected the politicians’ claims that the consultation had been unfairly biased towards Gartcosh.
Colin Lauder, director of planning , property and performance, said the process had met all Scottish Government guidelines and added the assessment of journey times and transport links to the sites were accurate and stood by the consultants’ estimated land clean-up costs.
He added: “Our only interest is to find the best possible site for the future University Hospital Monklands.”
Mr Neil said the board’s response was misleading and inaccurate, adding: “As a former Cabinet Secretary for Health I am appalled at their behaviour.”
Politicians have accused NHS Lanarkshire of rigging consultation into possible sites for a new Monklands hospital claiming the process has deliberately overestimated potential drawbacks of a site in Glenmavis while overstating the benefits of Gartcosh