The news that NHS Lanarkshire plans to spend £400m rebuilding Airdrie’s Monklands Hospital while Lanark’s Lockhart Hospital remains closed to in-patients due to the lack of a single GP has provoked an angry reaction.
It has led to charges being made that the population of rural Clydesdale are being treated as second-class citizens when it comes to health provision in the county.
Health bosses announced this week that they would be coming to Lanark’s Memorial Hall on Tuesday, October 25, for a public consulation meeting over their new Achieving Excellence strategy, which includes the massive Monklands modernisation project.
Those same NHS Lanarkshire chiefs faced a sometimes stormy meeting at the same hall on August 17 when they came to discuss progress in getting the Lockhart Hospital, largely mothballed since May, back into full operation.
The meeting reacted angrily when a Clydesdale GP claimed her practice had offered to take on an extra doctor to provide cover for the Lockhart but had been denied the funds to do so by Lanarkshire NHS.
Now the planned £400m spend on Monklands has led Lanark independent councillor Ed Archer to call for the memorial hall to be packed again on October 25 at 6.30pm to make local feelings plain.
He said: “This anouncement is just adding insult to injury and shows we are being treated as second-class citizens when it comes to health spending in Lanarkshire.
“In 2007, Lanark lost out on a new cottage hospital to save Monklands’ A&E department, and now this.”
He said he would be out on Lanark High Street this Saturday morning, October 8, with a petition he hopes to present to the visiting health chiefs.
For its part, NHS Lanarkshire said it would welcome discussion on the Lockhart at the meeting.
A spokesman said: “There will be round-table group discussions as part of the meeting. People will be invited to comment on the proposals in Achieving Excellence, and a key part of that will be let us know what services they think are important in the future.
“We definitely expect the Lockhart to feature as part of this discussion and will welcome all views at the meeting.
“We hope this helps reassure people that we will be happy to listen to and respond to any comments on Lockhart Hospital.”