Monklands Hospital petition: thousands sign in support of current site
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has gathered more than 3400 signatures on his petition to retain Monklands Hospital on its current site – and says he will now be “taking his campaign to the doorsteps”.
The Central Scotland MSP says the response to his campaign shows “growing opposition” to an NHS Lanarkshire proposal to build the new hospital at the former steelworks site in Gartcosh.
It comes ahead of Thursday’s public meetings in Airdrie on the hospital move, and runs alongside a campaign by SNP politicians Neil Gray MP and Alex Neil MSP to keep the hospital in the “central Monklands” area, such as at the second-rated alternative site at Glenmavis.
Mr Leonard told the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser: “It’s clear there are strong feelings in the community about the potential closing and moving of the current Monklands Hospital – the sheer number of petition signatories in such a short period illustrates that most people want it to remain on the existing site.
“[Central Scotland colleague] Elaine Smith MSP and I are clear that there should be a new Monklands Hospital and we are fully supportive of the ambitions of NHS Lanarkshire to deliver one.
“However, we want the health board and Scottish Government to understand the strength of feeling about this issue – our medical and health services need to be built in our communities, not out of town.
“I’d encourage as many members of the public and Monklands Hospital patients, staff and service users as possible to take part in the consultation as it’s important that NHS Lanarkshire hear as many opinions as possible; and I’d urge everyone who wants a new Monklands Hospital to be built on the current site to support the petition.”
Mr Leonard says he will now be taking his message on the hospital siting to “doorsteps across the region”, saying the action will “directly challenge NHS Lanarkshire and the Scottish Government to listen to the thousands of concerned residents who are demanding that the new hospital be developed and built on the existing site”.
His petition is at www.change.org/p/scottish-government-keep-monklands-hospital-in-the-monklands; while that by Mr Gray and Mr Neil is at you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-university-hospital-monklands-in-central-monklands.
Meanwhile, Airdrie will host two public meetings on Thursday for local residents to hear more about the health board’s proposals and to give their views.
The two-hour sessions take place at Sir John Wilson town hall on September 13 at 2pm and 6.30pm – with health board officials giving “a presentation on the clinical case for change, the challenges of building on the existing site compared to a new site and why Gartcosh has emerged as the highest-scoring option”, before group discussions and questions to the project team.
Meetings have already taken place in Coatbridge and in Gartcosh, near the proposed site, as part of the health board’s ongoing public consultation, ahead of members making their decision at a meeting in November.
Monklands replacement/refurbishment project director Graeme Reid said: “Given the anticipated level of interest we want to make sure as many people as possible can come to meetings to see our presentation and give their comments; and the additional afternoon meetings will hopefully offer that opportunity to residents who find it inconvenient to attend evening meetings.
“We have been listening to the public’s feedback about this opportunity to build a state-of-the-art hospital for Lanarkshire, and would encourage people to take part in the consultation by coming to the meetings or completing our online survey – this is your chance to help shape the future of healthcare in Lanarkshire.”
To submit a question to be raised at the meeting, email [email protected]; while project website www.monklands.scot.nhs.uk has more information on the consultation.
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