Stop keeping secrets says Labour man in Monklands row

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The issue of where the new Monklands Hospital will be situated has made a Labour candidate see red – amidst of claims of broken promises.

Hugh Gaffney, who is the Labour candidate for Coatbridge Chryston and Bellshill, said that Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has failed to respond to a 21 day deadline in regard to the decision making process.

This refers to her controversial choice to close the 1970s built hospital on its current site.

Flagging up what he saw as a lack of transparency, Mr Gaffney asked the Scottish Government for answers on what specific powers were used by Ms Freeman when making that decision – but he still has heard nothing back.

And, according to Mr Gaffney, that’s just not good enough.

He said: “It is absolutely shameful that the Scottish National Party and Jeane Freeman are treating the voters of Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill with contempt when it comes to the future of the Monklands.

“Jeane Freeman is trying to avoid scrutiny for her undemocratic decision to close Monklands on its current site with no consultation or engagement within the local community.

“There needs to be greater transparency about the process and powers used by Jeane Freeman to justify closing our local hospital in defiance of the will of local people who want it to remain in the heart of our community.

“I will continue to fight to save Monklands and demand answers from the SNP. Voters locally deserve better than this secrecy from the SNP Government.”

Health bosses at NHS Lanarkshire said they would prefer not to comment. However, a Scottish Government spokesperson said that these comments were not made in full view of the facts.

She said: “It is entirely incorrect to suggest there has been any secrecy on this issue.

“Parliament has been fully informed on developments throughout.

“And the Scottish Government has been clear in our absolute commitment that a new Monklands hospital, which will retain an A&E along with associated specialist services, will be delivered in the Monklands’ catchment area.

“We have accepted the recommendations of the independent review and also support the development of a vision for the existing site.

“We have also confirmed to this correspondent that they will receive a fulsome reply to their recent inquiry in due course.”