Doctors from every medical practice in Clydesdale are being invited to a ‘summit’ meeting in Lanark aimed at saving the town’s Lockhart Hospital.
And it is also hoped to call a public meeting at Lanark Memorial Hall to which NHS Lanarkshire bosses will be asked along to explain directly what steps they are taking to put the much-valued hospital for the elderly back into use.
The meetings are being organised by Lanark Community Council and are seen as a way of pressurising NHS bosses into finding a solution to the lack of GP cover that led to the hospital’s ‘mothballing’ in May.
An NHS Lanarkshire progress report issued a fortnight ago was met with deep dissatisfaction at the council’s latest meeting, its chairman Frank Gunning claiming: “Quite franky, I don’t buy the line that NHS Lanarkshure can’t find a single doctor to provide cover for The Lockhart. I think we should get doctors from all Clydesdale’s practices into a meeting to ask them directly what responses they have made to NHS Lanarkshire’s appeal for their help.”
He said that his suspicions that “they (the NHS) aim to close The Lockhart” had been prompted by the claim that the Lanark Doctors had offered to provide temporary cover to keep the hospital open but had the offer knocked back by NHS Lanarkshire.
For their part, health bosses have admitted such an offer was made but they thought that the Lanark Doctors should concentrate on rectifying their troubled appointments system instead.
It was also decided that all Clydesdale community councils send a delegate to the ‘summit’, given that the hospital took patients from throughout the area and not just Lanark.
It was also decided to hold, in the near future, a full public meeting at Lanark Memorial Hall to which NHS Lanarkshire would be invited to send senior officials to explain what progress, if any, they were making with getting the hospital back into full operation.
The council rejected NHS options of turning the hospital into a ‘nurse-led’ one as it felt ‘training up’ staff to do this would take too long and delay re-opening for too long.