The new University Hospital Monklands campus is now highly likely to be constructed at Wester Moffat after the former farmland area east of Airdrie was selected as NHS Lanarkshire’s preferred site to recommend to Scottish Government.
Following an extensive consultation process, the health board made the choice to favour the Airdrie location over two alternative site options (Gartcosh and Glenmavis) at an NHS Lanarkshire Board meeting which was streamed online for the public to view on Wednesday 16 December 2020.
Wester Moffat had previously been identified as the highest scoring option when 400 patients and staff rated the three sites during a postal scoring process carried out this summer, after participants assessed travel times for patients and workers, connectivity, site contamination and impact of patients travelling from neighbouring areas of Glasgow.
The decision represents a crucial milestone in Monklands Replacement Project, which is NHS Lanarkshire’s proposal to replace the existing Monklands Hospital, situated close to Airdrie town centre, with a newly rebuilt, state-of-the-art Monklands Hospital on a new site. The programme 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 means the new infirmary, which is expected to cost £400 million to build, will remain in Airdrie and be accessible from Cumbernauld via the A73 dual carriageway and a newly proposed East Airdrie Link Road to be developed between Stand and Newhouse. Neena Mahal, Chair of the Board of NHS Lanarkshire, commented:
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“Looking at staff and patients, and not just one group, Wester Moffat stood out as the option that provided the maximum opportunities for both staff and patients.
“The ability to address the transport and environmental concerns (at Wester Moffat) have been assured.
“As such, I concur with the recommendation and I’m supportive of approving it. On the basis of our discussions, it’s (the decision) unanimously carried and approved by the Board.”
“We would like to thank the public and our staff for their participation during the extensive engagement process on the Monklands Replacement Project.
“The feedback we received on the three site options proved invaluable in helping Board members to give thorough consideration to the issues of key interest to members of the community.
“I would also like to acknowledge the hard work of the Monklands Replacement Project team, who provided the Board with the comprehensive information which formed the basis of our deliberations.
“The Board’s recommendation, which is not a final decision, will now be considered by Jeane Freeman, Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport.”
No public response has been issued as yet from Cumbernauld politicians Jamie Hepburn MSP and Stuart McDonald MP, but the decision was welcomed by Airdrie Parliamentarian Alex Neil MSP, who remarked:
“NHS Lanarkshire’s decision to recommend to Scottish Government that the new Monklands Hospital be built in Airdrie is the right decision. It is the best Christmas present we could have had.
“The original proposal to build the new hospital at Gartcosh would have been the wrong decision. I am delighted that common sense has prevailed.”
Where the new hospital is built will directly affect all citizens of Greater Cumbernauld, who for many years have accessed University Hospital Monklands as their nearest infirmary containing an Accident and Emergency Department.
Public transport links and distances to local hospitals have been contentious issues for people living in Greater Cumbernauld for a long time. If Wester Moffat is confirmed by Scottish Government as the hospital’s location, the distance from Cumbernauld town centre to the new hospital will be about eight miles, similar to its distance from the current Monklands Hospital site.
As soon as a final decision is made by Scottish Government in relation to the hospital location, information will be posted on Cornerstone House Centre’s website and social media channels.
Full public documentation and latest information updates in relation to Monklands Replacement Project, including the newly published Monkands Replacement Project Engagement Report, can be accessed online by visiting www.monklands.scot.nhs.uk.