– in the Scottish Parliament on 18th September 2019.
2. To ask the Scottish Government what progress NHS Lanarkshire has made with plans for a new-build Monklands hospital, following the recommendations made by the independent review. (S5O-03542)
NHS Lanarkshire accepted the recommendations of the independent review into the Monklands replacement/refurbishment project. The board also accepted the additional requirements that I made of it, which include working closely with the local planning authority to ensure that it can support and contribute to a more constructive, inclusive and open site-option review, with meaningful public engagement.
NHS Lanarkshire has established an oversight board, as it was required to do. The oversight board is chaired by Dr Lesley Thomson QC and has the involvement of Sir Harry Burns. North and South Lanarkshire patient/public forum members will provide assurance on the progression of the Monklands replacement project and the oversight board will report directly to the board of NHS Lanarkshire. The newly constituted oversight board will have its first session on 24 September, with a meeting later in October. Timescales on its work will be clarified following the first meeting.
The cabinet secretary will welcome, as I do, NHS Lanarkshire’s commitment to working with others to redevelop the current site
“to provide facilities to improve the health and wellbeing of local people, reducing their health inequalities and providing the opportunity for economic regeneration in the area”,
as the board said in a recent letter to me.
The cabinet secretary might be aware that households in my constituency have received a letter from Labour politicians that uses language about Monklands hospital closing. For the avoidance of doubt, will she confirm the Government’s support for a new Monklands hospital, complete with the accident and emergency department that Labour was so determined to close in the past?
That information is disappointing, because as members know, and as I say again for the record, both the First Minister and I have said on a number of occasions that there is an absolute commitment on the part of this Government to see a replacement built for Monklands hospital, which will include an accident and emergency service.
On the recommendations of the independent review, I have made clear to NHS Lanarkshire that it needs to look again at potential site options. I am pleased that the board is taking forward that work, engaging meaningfully with local planners and planning to engage with local residents.
I repeat again, for the avoidance of doubt, that there is an absolute commitment on the part of this Government to see a replacement for Monklands hospital built that includes accident and emergency.