– in the Scottish Parliament on 18th September 2019.
8. To ask the Scottish Government how many appointments have been made to the Monklands replacement oversight board, and what skills, expertise and local knowledge are reflected in these appointments. (S5O-03548)
The new Monklands replacement oversight board reflects a blend of patient and public experience from Lanarkshire and senior representation from the non-executives on the national health service board, including the employee director, supplemented by the expertise of Sir Harry Burns, a recognised international authority on health inequalities, and Dr Mike Higgins, a former member of the independent review team.
The oversight board will also have access to the advice of a stakeholder engagement group, which will be made up of a wider mix of third sector, voluntary and patient group representatives.
I thank the minister for providing slightly more information than I have been able to get out of the health board up to now.
The new board appears to be made up of one new external member, four members of NHS Lanarkshire’s board and, as I understand it, four other people from local partnerships. Is the cabinet secretary confident that the new appointments will be independent, which will be vital if she expects the board to help to restore public trust in a flawed process? Will she ensure that they are from the Monklands area and not the other side of Lanarkshire? Given the Government’s recent record on new-build hospitals, with Scottish Labour pushing her to hold a public inquiry in that regard, will she reconsider her decision and rebuild our hospital where it is, in the heart of our Monklands community?
I do not think that anyone who knows Dr Lesley Thomson QC would consider her to be other than independent. The non-executive members of the board who are on the oversight board are precisely that—non-executive members. As the member will know, they are appointed by and accountable to me. Sir Harry Burns is eminently independent, as are the other members. The North and South Lanarkshire patient/public forum representatives are independent members, too.
I will have very clear oversight to ensure that the review’s recommendations are implemented. That will include extensive genuine public engagement, and that can happen in a number of ways. I understand that NHS Lanarkshire is considering discussions with the NHS alliance, which has a strong record of working with local communities to elicit their views and opinions, in advance of any formal consultation process.
On the current circumstances in NHS Lothian with the sick kids and in the Queen Elizabeth university hospital campus, I repeat that in ensuring that we learn lessons from those, and from previous matters concerning the builds, we will be informed not only by the public inquiry that I have announced—which I am sure that we will debate later—but by the independent review of the Queen Elizabeth. Both will inform the work of the national body, which I believe that members previously supported.
Finally, with respect to the current Monklands hospital site, I made it clear when we touched on the matter before, that in order to build on the current site, one would need to demolish the existing hospital. There is no provision to allow the patients and services in the current Monklands hospital to be taken up in other hospitals, so we would lose a significant element of patient care. I am sure that the member agrees that we would not wish to do that. We cannot build alongside an existing hospital. Aside from the fact that the footprint does not allow it, that would be a very foolish thing to do in terms of patient safety and infection prevention and control.
The Presiding Officer:
That was a very detailed answer, cabinet secretary. I would appreciate it if you could be a little bit more succinct.
Although I am supportive of a new-build Monklands, will the cabinet secretary give an assurance that the parking and flooding problems at the Gartcosh crime campus will be taken into account when assessing the suitability of the Gartcosh site?
The questions about parking, flooding and the nature of the land on which any new hospital might be built will be taken account of in all the options that the health board is looking at, and will inform its options appraisal work.