[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
Protest vow over A&E closure plan
Campaigners opposed to A&E closures
Campaigners have said they will continue their protests
Campaigners have vowed to continue their fight to prevent the accident and emergency unit at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie from closure.

It follows NHS Lanarkshire's decision on Tuesday to close the unit after discussing which of the area's three hospitals should lose the service.

Campaigners and the local MSP have reacted angrily and vowed to take their fight to the Scottish Executive.

NHS Lanarkshire chief executive Tim Davidson defended the closure.

The board decided that Hairmyres Hospital and Wishaw General should handle all A&E cases.

More than 50,000 people signed a petition against cuts at Monklands Hospital, but the vote at the board meeting on Tuesday evening was 19 to one in favour of closure.

The health board chose not to listen to those people who responded to the consultation
Karen Whitefield
Local MSP

Campaigners were angered by the decision, with one saying she feared the closure could put people's lives at risk.

Another said: "We'll take this to the European Court of Human Rights. That's the place where we can get this decision overturned."

Karen Whitefield, the Labour MSP for Airdrie, said the health board had ignored the views of local people.

Acute services

"The health board chose not to listen to those people who responded to the consultation," she said.

"Fifty nine thousand people from North Lanarkshire responded to the consultation, supporting my petition, the petition of my colleague Cathie Craigie and Elaine Smith.

"At no point in its considerations did it indicate it had listened to those people and that's what's most disappointing."

Mr Davidson said he understood the anxiety caused by rearranging the way acute hospital services were delivered.

Wishaw General Hospital
Wishaw General, one of the two hospitals to keep A&E services

He said: "The board went through enormous detail during a four-hour meeting a number of evidence papers looking at the decision criteria against which we were making our decisions.

"It was very, very clear that in the overall context of improving health status, health improvement, primary care and acute hospital care we reached the right decision for the people of NHS Lanarkshire."

Mr Davidson said people's emergency and patient care needs would not be adversely affected by the closure.

Addressing campaigners' concerns, he said he recognised the need to improve public transport in the area to enable people to travel to Hairmyres Hospital and Wishaw General.

However, Mr Davidson added: "What we were talking about in terms of changes to hospitals was about emergency inpatient care, where the most acutely ill patients will go by ambulance, not by public transport.

"More than 90% of activity that currently goes on in Lanarkshire across the three hospitals will remain local."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Health chief defends A&E unit closure plans



SEE ALSO
Monklands to lose casualty unit
27 Jun 06 |  Glasgow and West
Fears continue over hospital cuts
02 May 06 |  Scotland
Protests over A&E closure plans
22 Apr 06 |  Scotland
Consultation on hospital cut plan
30 Jan 06 |  Scotland

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific