A mass meeting of Clydesdale folk eager to see Lanark’s Lockhart Hospital reopened is to be held in the town’s Memorial Hall.
It is hoped that NHS Lanarkshire bosses will be spurred by such a demonstration of the public’s will to have the much-prized hospital, mothballed since May, back in full operation soon.
In a progress report three weeks ago, health chiefs said they still had not found a single doctor willing to provide medical cover for the 30-bed Whitelees Road hospital and warned that it could be months before its fate is decided.
Now, in an attempt to impress on them the urgency of reopening the hospital quickly, Lanark Community Council has called a public meeting to be held in the Memorial Hall on Wednesday, August 17, at 7pm. Senior NHS Lanarkshire officials have also agreed to attend.
The call to rally people power to save the hospital came this week from community council chairman Frank Gunning.
He said: “We are all eager to ensure that when the community council next meets with representation from NHS Lanarkshire, we are in a position to stress, in no uncertain manner, the depth of local concern with regard to the closure –temporary or otherwise – of the Lockhart Hospital.
“However, it will greatly strengthen our case if we are also able to demonstrate the wide-ranging impact that this has had, and will continue to have, throughout the Clydesdale area.”
Explaining why the meeting was not being held immediately, he said that, with the help of Lanark’s three South Lanarkshire Council members, “we have sought to obtain a date and venue appropriate to an opportunity to involve the greater Clydesdale community, who are all impacted by this issue to some degree, in a consultation and reasoned debate on this issue.
“This has proven a tad difficult during the holiday period and, as a result, we have opted for a date preferred by NHS Lanarkshire personnel, whose guaranteed attendance at the event is essential.”
He has formally written to all community councils in Clydesdale to invite them along to the meeting, hoping their attendance will bring it home to the health bosses that this is far from a Lanark-only issue.
He added: “In an ideal world, we should ensure that the Memorial Hall is standing room only on the night, the better to demonstrate the ire of our community.”
In the meantime, NHS Lanarkshire has denied persistent rumours that major equipment has now been removed from the Lockhart Hospital for use elsewhere in the county.