Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Politicians hail unit announcement
Airdrie’s past and present politicians have welcomed news that the town’s new hospital is to become the site of Lanarkshire’s elective orthopaedic unit – calling it “a clear winner”.
Neil Gray, who is Airdrie’s MSP, first began campaigning on the issue in his previous role as the town’s MP, alongside former Holyrood constituency colleague Alex Neil.
The pair began making the case for planned orthopaedic surgery to be based at Monklands five years ago after the specialty was moved out of the Airdrie hospital, with the trauma service being permanently concentrated at Wishaw General and elective surgery being based at Hairmyres for the interim period.
Both then campaigned vigorously against the 2018 proposals to relocate the new Monklands Hospital out of Airdrie, with the Wester Moffat farmland site finally being chosen 12 months ago ahead of the controversial Gartcosh site and an alternative at Glenmavis.
Now at Holyrood following Mr Neil’s retirement at May’s election, Mr Gray has since worked alongside Airdrie MP Anum Qaisar to give their views in the recent public consultation on orthopaedics.
Airdrie’s MSP said: “i’m delighted that NHS Lanarkshire’s board has voted this way – it makes so much sense that the most modern, state-of-the-art facility in the area houses the elective orthopaedic surgery unit.
“The folk of Monklands, and the wider Lanarkshire area, deserve the best facilities on offer to help combat health issues. We have some of the highest-ranking areas of multiple deprivation in the country around here and good healthcare facilities can help address that.
“Alex Neil and I fought hard to keep Monklands Hospital in the Airdrie area for that very reason and then continued that fight to bring orthopaedics here too.
“When Alex retired Anum Qaisar joined me to make sure that the voices of the people we represent were heard loud and clear – and I am so happy that this has borne fruit.
“I look forward to seeing the new hospital, complete with elective orthopaedic department, built and welcoming patients.”
Ms Qaisar added: “we knew that there was a very strong case for elective orthopaedics to be based at the new hospital and I’m thrilled that NHS Lanarkshire agree with us.
“New purpose-built facilities will be transformative for patient care, but the most important aspect of this is that it will help to future-proof the provision of elective orthopaedics in North Lanarkshire.
“The new hospital will see increased capacity along with new cutting-edge equipment, leading to patients being treated faster and more effectively.”
Mr Neil, the retired MSP, added: “it makes sense for the orthopaedic unit to be based at the new hospital.
“This was promised to Neil and me when it was removed from Monklands a few years ago and I am absolutely delighted to see it officially agreed.”