Lanark’s largely mothballed Lockhart Hospital is to be handed over to Clydesdale’s Healthy Valleys public health and fitness promotion group to serve as its new base.
NHS Lanarkshire has described that move as an interim measure while it works towards the eventual reopening of the building as a nurse-led hospital.
The full plan for the future of the Lockhart is to be revealed at a public meeting to be held at Lanark Memorial Hall on the evening of Monday, February 27, although a time for the start of the meeting has yet to be set.
The hospital closed to new admissions and existing, mainly elderly, in-patients were sent elsewhere for care last May after the sole GP providing medical cover left.
NHS Lanarkshire claims it has been unable to find a replacement doctor and plans to eventually reopen the hospital after enough practitioner nurses are trained or recruited.
Local pressure has been maintained for an early reopening, and NHS Lanarkshire says that, in the meantime, the building will be used by the currently Rigside-based Health Valleys group as it has been seeking a Lanark base for some time.
An NHS Lanarkshire spokesman said: “We will ensure best use is made of this valuable community asset while progress continues to be made with developing a new model for providing care at the hospital.
“The interim plans involve health and social care staff working alongside Healthy Valleys to deliver specialist services and create a community hub that will help reduce isolation and improve health and wellbeing.
“There will be a particular focus on rehabilitation and supporting patients with palliative care needs and carers.”
Added Val de Souza, chief officer of the South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership: “We know that the community’s preferred option would be for Lockhart Hospital to reopen to admissions right now. Unfortunately, the continuing challenges with GP availability mean that this is not possible.”
South of Scotland Labour list MSP Claudia Beamish welcomed the plan, saying: “The community needs to be reassured that the Lockhart has not been forgotten.”
Clydesdale MSP Aileen Campbell also welcomed the plan and added:“We need to ensure that the model going forward is sustainable, and these latest plans illustrate an attempt to ensure the continued use of this tremendous local asset.
“The range of services to be provided is encouraging.”