Bellshill MSP backs criticism of Monklands hospital site decision

Petition against Monklands Hospital being moved to Gartcosh
Petition against Monklands Hospital being moved to Gartcosh

Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Richard Lyle has backed ex-health minister Alex Neil’s criticism of NHS Lanarkshire over the proposed new Monklands Hospital site.

Earlier this month Mr Neil claimed the public consultation for the new £600m hospital is “the biggest stitch-up in history”.

Mr Neil, who is Airdrie and Shotts MSP, believe the appraisal process to decide between sites at Gartcosh, Glenmavis or remaining at Monklands, was filled with health authority staff to produce the desired result.

He said: “It’s clear the health board had already made their mind up that they 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 ‘pulled every stunt imaginable’ to make Gartcosh seem like the best option.

This included slashing travel times to Gartcosh, ignoring a planned £190 million road which would make Glenmavis easier to get to, and underestimating the cost of a culvert at Gartcosh.

“As an MSP for 19 years and a former Cabinet Secretary for Health I can honestly say I have never seen such an amateurish effort as this rubbish produced by NHS Lanarkshire, I thought they would have learned from the Monklands A&E debacle, but are now seeing a repeat performance.

Mr Lyle supports the Glenmavis site, and also thinks NHS Lanarkshire made up their mind before any consultation too place.

He said: “I agree with Alex Neil’s comments and I’m currently doing a petition against Gartcosh site as it does not suit my constituents who would have to take several buses to get there.

I laughed when I attended a consultation night and the NHS representatives said “we do not have a position re any site, but we recommend Gartcosh.”

“I support the Glenmavis site and certainly am against building a new hospital in Gartcosh. Yes we need a new hospital, but the correct site needs to be chosen.”

NHS Lanarkshire rejected the politicians’ claims that the consultation had been unfairly biased towards Gartcosh.

Colin Lauder, director of planning, property and performance, said: “Our only interest is to find the best possible site for the future University Hospital Monklands.”