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In response to the first recommendation of the independent review, the Monklands replacement oversight board has been established and its current focus is to identify all potential sites, in addition to Gartcosh and Glenmavis, for the location of the new, state-of-the-art, university hospital Monklands. The board has asked members of the public to respond by 13 December. Once all suggestions have been checked to ensure that they comply with the five essential criteria, a site selection appraisal will be undertaken and the preferred option will be chosen.
Members of the public are encouraged to take part in, and contribute to, that process.
Would it be fair to say that information that is being distributed around my constituency suggesting that Monklands hospital is to close is blatantly misleading? Can the cabinet secretary confirm, again for the absolute avoidance of any doubt, that the party that saved the hospital from the Labour Government when it tried to close our accident and emergency unit in 2007 was the Scottish National Party, and that the future of Monklands hospital will always be safe in the hands of an SNP Government?
Let me remind the member and everyone else in the chamber what the First Minister said:
“There is an absolute commitment on the part of this Government to see a replacement for Monklands hospital built, which, incidentally”— and importantly—
“will include A and E services.”—[
, 27 June 2019; c 22.]
I have seen some of the information that is circulating. It is, of course, entirely false in its premise and in what it suggests. I have absolutely no doubt that the good citizens of Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill will not be fooled by the notion that the party that actually wanted to close the A and E at Monklands hospital now claims that it wants to save it, and that they will indeed trust this Government, which saved the A and E at Monklands, to continue to support a replacement hospital for Monklands that includes an A and E. I hope that that assists Mr MacGregor in reassuring his constituents.