NHS Lanarkshire is planning a major new development to replace the existing Monklands Hospital.
The Scottish Government has welcomed the proposal from NHS Lanarkshire to embark on the process of seeking funding for the redevelopment of the hospital.
The options, which will be evaluated, include redevelopment of the hospital on the existing Monklands site, or a complete replacement facility at an alternative location.
Dr Rory MacKenzie, Chief of Medical Services, Monklands Hospital, said: “It is fantastic news for our patients and staff that NHS Lanarkshire is starting to make plans for this development. Our staff work tremendously hard to provide an excellent standard of care at Monklands Hospital and these options open up exciting opportunities to further enhance this.”
Calum Campbell, Chief Executive, NHS Lanarkshire, said: “To ensure we best meet future population needs in Lanarkshire there is no doubt that we will continue to require a high-quality acute hospital with 450-500 beds.
“Developing an initial agreement is a key step forward that will allow us to consider this in detail and make sure we get the right future acute hospital provision for the people of Lanarkshire.”
There has been significant investment in Monklands Hospital in the last six years which has included the new theatre and critical care unit upgrade, a new £1.8m pathology laboratory and the £22m Lanarkshire Beatson radiotherapy centre.
Colin Lauder, Head of Planning and Development, NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We have continued to invest in Monklands Hospital to ensure that it can meet the ever increasing levels of demand for specialist acute clinical care and provide the highest standards of treatment and care possible.
“This investment has been in addition to more than £35m investment over the last six years, which has been necessary to safely maintain Monklands Hospital which was designed in the late 1960’s and opened in 1974.
“Despite this on-going investment, there are parts of Monklands Hospital that we will never be able to bring up to the standards required to deliver high-quality 21st Century healthcare and this will be an important consideration as we develop the initial agreement.
“The new facility will complement the development of better care away from hospitals at home and in the community.”
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “The Scottish Government welcomes this proposal from NHS Lanarkshire.
“Considerable investment has gone into Monklands Hospital over the past few years, however, through these plans the health board is seeking to make sure that it is in the best position possible to continue to meet the needs of the local population.
“Any final business plan will be assessed in the wider context of improving the overall NHS Scotland estate.”
The initial agreement will take around six months to develop. It will include an assessment of all factors relating to the options including potential locations and will identify a preferred option.
NHS Lanarkshire says it will involve patients, staff, the local authorities and other stakeholders in the planning process.
Following the initial agreement, NHS Lanarkshire will develop an outline business case and then a full business case, both of which would require Scottish Government approval. This will take two to three years to complete before building work can start.
It is estimated that the period from starting the initial agreement to completing the new hospital, would be around seven years.