The first phase of a new Monklands Replacement Project (MRP) evaluation process has revealed that patient travel times will be the most influential non-financial factor in recommending a location for the new University Hospital Monklands.
As reported by Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub in July, this forms part of a re-run consultation which involves members of the public and NHS Lanarkshire staff scoring sites at Gartcosh, Glenmavis and Wester Moffat as options for a new build hospital to replace the existing Monklands Hospital site close to Airdrie town centre.
Consultation participants have now completed assessment of five non-financial ‘benefits criteria’ that will be used to score the three possible sites, with travel times by road and public transport for patients coming out on top. Almost one-third (31.1%) of respondents recognised this as the most important area in the decision-making process.
Travel times by road and public transport for healthcare staff was ranked second with 22.96% of the vote, followed by access to NHS regional centres (19.27%), site contamination (14.47%) and impact of patients from Glasgow attending the hospital (12.2%).
This means that during the second part of the evaluation, where participants will objectively score each of the three site options, a weighting will be placed in favour of the benefits criteria ranked as most relevant. Colin Lauder, Director of Property, Planning and Performance at NHS Lanarkshire, commented:
“A total of 174 people submitted weighting results and we’d like to thank all of them for taking the time to study and consider the weighting information pack they were sent before they did so.
“All the participants are being invited to take part in the second stage, and we’d be grateful to them if they would read the site information pack they will be sent and then submit their score sheet to The Consultation Institute (tCI) (the independent public engagement agency overseeing the consultation).
“The outcome of scoring will not be a final decision on a hospital location. It will be only one factor which will be considered by NHS Lanarkshire’s Board, along with all of the other evidence collected during public and staff engagement, in identifying a preferred option for the new site.”
The second phase of the evaluation is expected to be completed by the end of August. The scoring process and associated documentation have been developed with input from Healthcare Improvement Scotland (formerly Scottish Health Council), which supports the engagement of people and communities in shaping health and care services.
NHS Lanarkshire has indicated that scores for each of the three potential hospital sites will be calculated using proportionate representation from geographical locations and staff groups, with members of the public making up that more than 75% of consultation panelists. Patients, patient representatives and carers living in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth will form 11% of the total scoring panel.
Once scoring for non-financial benefits is completed, NHS Lanarkshire will then undertake a process to assess the financial benefits by incorporating the overall project cost for each site. This will be published in a report to be released ahead of a two-week public feedback period in the autumn.
NHS Lanarkshire’s Board will then present a preferred option to Jeane Freeman, Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, who will make a final decision on where the new hospital will be built.
The hospital location will directly affect all citizens of Cumbernauld, who for many years have accessed University Hospital Monklands as their nearest infirmary containing an Accident and Emergency Department.
If constructed in Glenmavis or Gartcosh, the new hospital campus will geographically be slightly closer for Cumbernauld residents, however this will only prove advantageous if efficient public transport and road links from Cumbernauld town centre to the hospital site are implemented.
Earlier in the consultation process (in February 2020), Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub hosted an independently-facilitated Community Discussion Event at Cornerstone House with a view to giving the people of Cumbernauld an opportunity to have their say on the hospital rebuild project. An audio of this Event can be listened to by clicking here.
Two years ago, the former steelworks site at Gartcosh was first revealed as the front-running option following an initial health board options appraisal.
However, thousands of petition signatures opposing the Gartcosh site option resulted in an independent review assigned by Scottish Government, leading to a second consultation process starting in January 2020. This included a new option of relocating at Wester Moffat.
Monklands Replacement Project was initiated primarily due to a widespread view that the present University Hospital Monklands building is becoming unfit for purpose in terms of facilities, building infrastructure, dilapidation, financial maintenance and physical space.
It is believed that the new hospital will cost around £400 million to construct, after a previous option to rebuild on the existing Monklands Hospital site was ruled out due to cost and logistics.
Full public documentation and latest information updates in relation to Monklands Replacement Project can be accessed online by visiting www.monklands.scot.nhs.uk.