The controversial removal of the Radiology Unit at Central Health Centre meant that locals are now having to travel to Monklands Hospital in Airdrie to be x-rayed. This provoked fury locally – and a 3000 word petition against the move.
Despite this, Scottish Goverment Health minister Alex Neil insisted that the removal “did not constitute a major service change.”
Now it has emerged that Labour MP Gregg McClymont made a final appeal to Mr Neil - who has refused to change his mind. An irate Mr McClymont said: “The SNP health minister in Edinburgh might think this is no big deal but for people in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth worried about the distance and poor transport links to Monklands this is a major service issue. The reality is that under the SNP vital public services are being taken away from Cumbernauld and Kilsyth”.
Cumbernauld Community Forum Chairman Billy Lees who drafted the petition said campaigners had been compeletely overlooked.
He said: “We were promised an explanation. Not a thing has been forthcoming – not even the courtesy of a reply.’’
However, a Scottish Government spokesperson insisted: “NHS Boards are responsible for the planning and provision of healthcare services to meet the needs of local people.
“In taking forward service change proposals we would expect NHS Boards to fully consider and engage with local communities on areas of particular concern, such as access to services and public transport issues; and for Boards to work with planning partners to alleviate these problems, as far as possible.
“The changes will result in benefits to patients as they will receive their results more quickly and will be able to get any further tests required in order to start treatment at the earliest opportunity,” he added.
And a spokesperson for NHS Lanarkshire also insisted that services had improved since the move.
He said: “The decision to transfer plain film x-rays from Cumbernauld and Kilsyth health centres to Monklands followed a review of community radiology services across Lanarkshire.
“The review identified that safer, more person-centred and more clinically effective services could be achieved by moving the community services to an acute hospital.
“The technology available at Monklands Hospital patients means patients will receive their results sooner.
This improved access to results means that patients will be able to get any further tests required and start treatment at the earliest opportunity,” he added.