Monklands Hospital (Trauma and In-patient Orthopaedic Services)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 8 September 2016.

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Photo of Richard Leonard Richard Leonard Labour

5. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will take action to prevent NHS Lanarkshire from closing trauma and in-patient orthopaedic services at Monklands hospital. (S5O-00115)

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

NHS Lanarkshire, supported by the Academy of Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland, has been clear that the interim changes are necessary in order to ensure the safety, quality and resilience of local services.

I have been assured that the interim plans will not impact materially on the provision of accident and emergency services at any of the three main hospitals in Lanarkshire. The A and E department at Monklands sees around 66,000 patients per year, and the board estimates that 98 per cent of patients will be unaffected by the interim changes. That means that the number of individuals who will be treated at either Hairmyres or Wishaw general as a result of the interim changes should amount to only three or four patient referrals each day. I expect the health board to keep the actual activity information under close review.

The health board has given assurances that it is committed to retaining three district general hospitals with A and E departments as part of its longer-term plans, which are now subject to public consultation. I encourage all stakeholders, including Richard Leonard, to play a full part in that consultation.

Photo of Richard Leonard Richard Leonard Labour

It is customary for members to thank the cabinet secretary for their answer, but I sit in this Parliament in a representative capacity, and the people of Lanarkshire will not thank the cabinet secretary for her answer.

People rightly expect genuine consultation before decisions that affect them are taken. The one section of the document “Achieving Excellence”—which I am holding up now, and to which the cabinet secretary referred—on which there is no public consultation is the withdrawal of trauma and in-patient orthopaedic services from Monklands next month. That goes to the very heart of how our democracy works. Will the cabinet secretary call the decision in—yes or no?

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

As I said, NHS Lanarkshire’s interim plans are about ensuring clinical safety and the quality of care, as supported by clinical experts at the Academy of Royal Colleges and Faculties.

They will help to address the issues—of which I am sure the local member is aware—around recruitment, retention and the training of key clinical staff. In addition, as I said in my initial answer, the longer-term service plans are currently the subject of a formal public consultation, which will run until 1 November.

I point out to Richard Leonard that it was this Government that saved the A and E department at Monklands from closure in 2007. Since then, we have seen more than half a million attendances at that department: half a million people who would not have been able to attend that hospital if Mr Leonard’s party had had its way back in 2007. I am sure that local people will remember the reality of that.

Photo of Fulton MacGregor Fulton MacGregor Scottish National Party

Will the minister confirm, for the avoidance of doubt, that the guarantee that the Scottish National Party gave 10 years ago, when the Labour Party voted to close down the Monklands A and E department, still stands and that, as long as there is an SNP Government, there will be A and E services at Monklands?

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

Absolutely—I can guarantee that there will be A and E departments at all three hospitals in Lanarkshire.

I can also give the member the reassurance that there has been significant investment in Monklands hospital over recent years, including in the provision of a new theatre, a critical care unit upgrade, a new pathology laboratory and, of course, the £22 million Lanarkshire Beatson radiotherapy centre. Further investment is planned, including in improved facilities for day surgery and an immediate assessment unit adjacent to the A and E department, as well as in a single centre of excellence for cancer services in Lanarkshire, which will be consolidated at the hospital.

In addition, I am sure that the member will be aware that we have welcomed NHS Lanarkshire’s preparation of a business case for the redevelopment of the hospital or for a new-build replacement. I think that that shows that this Government is absolutely committed to the future of Monklands hospital.

Photo of Graham Simpson Graham Simpson Conservative

The cabinet secretary may not be aware that, this week in his local paper, her party colleague Alex Neil promised the people of Lanarkshire that the trauma and in-patient orthopaedic services at Monklands would not be closed under the SNP. Has she given him that assurance?

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

I am happy to meet Alex Neil or any other local members to discuss any of their issues around this development.

NHS Lanarkshire has been very clear about the reasons for the interim plans: they are about clinical safety and the quality of care. We cannot ignore the expertise of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland or the concerns that it has raised.

What is clear, as I have said in all my answers today, is that NHS Lanarkshire and this Government remain absolutely committed to having three A and E departments in Lanarkshire. The configuration of those departments and the way in which they work together towards the final aim of having a single trauma site and a single elective site is extremely important. This is about the provision of sustainable, safe services, and I am sure that all local members will want to support that aim.

Photo of Alex Neil Alex Neil Scottish National Party

First, just for the record, I point out that the Labour leader of North Lanarkshire Council, Jim Logue, has given unqualified support to NHS Lanarkshire’s proposal to transfer trauma and orthopaedic services to the other two hospitals. Not for the first time, the Labour Party speaks with more than one voice when it suits it.

Secondly, as Mr Simpson is a former

Sun reporter, let me be accurate about what I said.

Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour

I hope that there will not be a “Thirdly”, Mr Neil.

Photo of Alex Neil Alex Neil Scottish National Party

I put it to the cabinet secretary that my point is that, when it comes to the designation of a permanent site, the new Monklands hospital that is planned by the Scottish Government for 2023 would be a logical place to put the single elective centre for orthopaedics.

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

I thank Alex Neil for his question



]—and for putting on record the very interesting views of Jim Logue.

I think that there would be a very strong case for the single elective site for orthopaedics to be at the new or refurbished Monklands hospital. There is obviously a lot of work to be done in the lead-up to that decision, which is why the issue is open to consultation at the moment. I am sure that Alex Neil and all the other local members will want to input into that consultation and make known very strongly to the board their views about where that site should be.