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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 08:24 GMT 09:24 UK
Reid joins A&E closure criticism
John Reid
Home Secretary John Reid called the decision "flawed"
Home Secretary John Reid has attacked the Scottish Executive's decision to back plans to close a hospital's accident and emergency unit.

He criticised Deputy Health Minister Lewis Macdonald for endorsing the plan to shut the Monklands Hospital A&E.

Dr Reid, whose Airdrie and Shotts seat includes the hospital, said the decision was "extremely disappointing".

But Mr Macdonald said the move was part of a wider investment plan which would transform Monklands.

The minister said that the executive would now plough 100m into improving Monklands Hospital, creating a "first-class example of modern healthcare".

Under the revamp, Monklands will focus on planned hospital care, while Wishaw and Hairmyres hospitals will continue to provide a mixture of planned and emergency care.

'Very wrong'

Mr Macdonald said: "The service needs to be built more around looking after people on a continuing and preventative basis, rather than isolated episodes of acute emergency inpatient care."

But Dr Reid said Mr Macdonald had failed to see sense and overturn the "flawed decision of NHS Lanarkshire to close the unit".

Dr Reid added that NHS Lanarkshire had failed to take into account issues of social and health inequality in reaching its original decision.

Even now, it is not too late for the executive to review the situation and reverse this decision
Margaret Mitchell
Scottish Conservative MSP

"By endorsing that decision, Lewis Macdonald has not only ignored these important factors but also the opinions of almost 50,000 people in North Lanarkshire who signed a petition in support of Monklands A&E", said Dr Reid.

Karen Whitefield, Labour MSP for Airdrie and Shotts, said she was "dismayed" by the decision, which Mr Macdonald had got "very wrong".

"I have always believed the case for the retention of full A&E services at Monklands is overwhelming," she said.

The closure decision was described as "inhumane" by a Scottish National Party MSP who claimed the NHS was being "butchered" by Labour.

Breached guidelines

Alex Neil, MSP for Central Scotland, said: "They have effectively thrust a dagger at the heart of the NHS in Lanarkshire and desperately let down the people reliant upon the department at Monklands which serves one of the poorest areas in the country."

He added: "The implications of this inhumane decision could prove to be very serious indeed."

Margaret Mitchell, Scottish Conservative MSP for Central Scotland, described the move as "truly a disaster".

She said: "Even now, it is not too late for the executive to review the situation and reverse this decision. If it has the political will, then the way forward is simple."

Elaine Smith, the Labour MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, claimed the decision breached Treasury guidelines.

She said it was based on faulty financial calculations and wants the decision investigated by the Auditor General.

Lanarkshire loses A&E department
21 Aug 06 |  Glasgow and West
Reid attacks A&E closure decision
29 Jun 06 |  Glasgow and West
Protest vow over A&E closure plan
28 Jun 06 |  Glasgow and West
Monklands to lose casualty unit
27 Jun 06 |  Glasgow and West

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