Independent review ordered over plans for Monklands hospital

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 Gartcosh as the site for the new 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.”

Earlier this month, Scottish Labour MSPs forced a vote in Holyrood to ensure that a new Monklands Hospital would built in the Monklands community.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “This is a welcome step forward and a sign that finally the SNP government is listening to the clear concerns of local people, who want Monklands Hospital to stay in the Monklands community.

“Over 5,000 people have signed my petition calling on the SNP health minister to intervene and stop this disastrous decision from being taken by the health board. An independent review of the process is the least the government in Edinburgh can do.”