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Monklands Hospital Bombshell
NHS Lanarkshire have been accused of keeping under wraps plans to ‘downgrade’ A&E at Monklands Hospital and move emergency patients to Wishaw General Hospital until after the election.
The radical move would put extra pressure on the already hard-worked staff at Wishaw General Hospital who would have to deal with emergency admissions from the Airdrie and Coatbridge serving hospital.
The shock news is contained in a document - entitled Orthopedic Services Review September 2015 - which was obtained by one of the Lanarkshire papers.
It comes only weeks after Wishaw General Hospital in February recorded the worst accident and emergency waiting times in Scotland for the second time in just nine weeks.
And it is less than a year since the controversial decision to axe the out-of-hours GP service based at the hospital.
One NHS Lanarkshire source said: “The trust are refusing to say in black and white that there will be two sites until after the election due to purdah, preventing it from becoming a political issue.
“When orthopaedics leave Monklands this means that the A&E is automatically downgraded without being classed as a downgraded emergency department.”
John Pentland, Labour’s Motherwell and Wishaw candidate at the Scottish Parliament elections, said the proposals would have a huge impact on A&E at Wishaw General.
“The absence of orthopaedics will affect the emergency service that can be provided at the hospital that loses them, but it will also mean added workload and pressure on the other two emergency departments,” he added.
“Since Wishaw and Hairmyres currently struggle with staffing levels and rarely meet treatment time targets, this raises major concerns about their ability to cope as the pressure increases on already hard working and under-resourced staff.
“It is shocking and plain wrong that these changes have not been highlighted to the public, to give people a chance to see and have their say on the proposals.
“It looks like they are being hidden away until after the election.
“The election should be a chance to discuss the future direction of the NHS and public services, but instead the public is being kept in the dark about SNP plans until it is too late for people to exert pressure through the ballot box.
“We need far greater openness and transparency in our government and public bodies, with more local scrutiny and accountability, but it looks like what we will get if the SNP are not stopped is more centralisation and more secrecy.”
Clare Adamson, SNP’s candidate for the Motherwell and Wishaw, said: “The SNP saved Monklands A&E from Labour’s closure plans and The SNP are committed to A&E at Monklands in the future. Furthermore, the Health Secretary has announced major new plans which mean replacing the existing hospital to continue to meet the needs of the local population.”
Orthopaedic services are currently provided on an outpatient, day case and inpatient basis at Hairmyres, Monklands Hospital and Wishaw General Hospitals.
But the Orthopedic Services Review Report concludes this model is “not sustainable.”
Wishaw General would be the most likely location for a Designated Trauma Unit in Lanarkshire. Under the proposed two-site configuration, Wishaw General Hospital would host a Major Trauma Centre as part of the West of Scotland network.
This would see an estimated 100 seriously injured people each year being brought to Wishaw General Hospital’s Emergency Department for stabilisation.
The options considered are:
General orthopaedic outpatients provided at Hairmyres, Monklands and Wishaw General.
Day surgery and inpatient surgery delivered at Wishaw General and either Hairmyres or Monklands.
Wishaw General becomes the designated major trauma unit for Lanarkshire, as part of the West of Scotland Network, centred at the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
There will continue to be three fully functional Emergency Departments in Lanarkshire, with only marginal shifts in the workload for each Emergency Department.
Dr Jane Burns, NHS Lanarkshire Acute Divisional Medical Director, said: “ Since 2013 NHS Lanarkshire has been working with stakeholders including public, patient and clinical representatives in the review to identify a service model that will improve outcomes for patients and provide a sustainable service. The review process is still ongoing and has not concluded.
“NHS Lanarkshire have provided a clear commitment to the continued provision of three A&Es which will each have surgery, medicine, ITU, diagnostics and outpatients within Lanarkshire. There is clear and overwhelming evidence that supports the view that orthopaedic changes would not impact on the provision of A&E services. To ensure we best meet future population needs in Lanarkshire, plans were recently announced on a major new hospital development to replace the existing Monklands Hospital, which will continue to require a high-quality acute hospital with 450-500 beds.”