April 21, 2024

“Death trap” Leaked report slams hospital in constituency of SNP Health Secretary Neil Gray

Health Secretary Neil Gray’s local hospital has been branded a “death trap” after beds were closed over flies, asbestos and a dodgy ceiling.

A damning leaked report also revealed Monklands hospital is struggling with fire safety and legionella.

But funding for a replacement has been shelved by the SNP Government due to a lack of money.

Local Labour MSP Monica Lennon said: “Forcing nurses and doctors to care for our sick in crumbling wards or working around mould and asbestos is a national disgrace.”

Critics say Monklands hospital, which is based in Airdrie, is crumbling and in urgent need of replacement.

An internal report by NHS Lanarkshire lays bare the full scale of the problems facing the troubled facility.

Ongoing “challenges” listed include heating, drainage, infestations, windows, fire safety, legionella and asbestos.

Monklands Hospital in Airdrie(Image: Russell Cheyne/Reuters)

Another part of the dossier lists the specific problems between October and January.

A four bed bay in the urology ward was closed due to an infestation of flies and beds have closed in the high dependency unit over a risk of “ceiling tiles falling and asbestos”.

Ward two, which handles infectious diseases, suffered the “rolling closure” of four beds as a result of flooring issues.

The same ward also suffered a heating system failure.

A unit for elderly patients also had to close the same number of beds due to “shower works”.

The report notes an increase in the time for getting test results back following the flooding of laboratories.

It concludes: “A replacement of the current hospital is urgently needed.”

Gray, who replaced Michael Matheson as Health Secretary this month, is the MSP for Airdrie and Shotts and his constituents use the hospital.

Locals are expecting a new state-of-the-art hospital to be up and running by 2031, but yesterday’s announcement of a funding delay was a bombshell.

Health boards were told by the Government no money is currently available for new infrastructure projects.

It means plans to build new hospitals, surgeries and a network of treatment centres have been put on ice.

At least a dozen NHS construction projects across Scotland, including a new Monklands facility, have been delayed or paused for up to two years.

An updated NHS infrastructure plan will be unveiled in the spring.

Monica Lennon MSP(Image: PA)

Lennon said: “The Scottish Government halting new NHS building projects for at least two years is a serious betrayal of my constituents in Lanarkshire and the people of Scotland.

“The SNP promised NHS recovery. Instead, hundreds of thousands of patients across Scotland are forced to wait even longer for urgent care and healthcare workers are burnt out beyond belief.

“For years, planned maintenance and repairs have suffered and hospital beds have been closed due to the condition of the NHS estate. It’s prolonged waiting times and put staff under enormous stress.

“When you are ill you shouldn’t have to worry that your local hospital is a death trap. But under this weary government, the wellbeing of NHS patients is suffering.

“The SNP-Green coalition has proven to be every bit as bad as the Tories when it comes to prioritising the NHS. Distracted by their own incompetence and internal conflicts, these parties have lost their way and people are paying with their health and their lives.”

Tory MSP Meghan Gallacher said: “This damning report fully exposes how Monkland Hospital is simply not fit for purpose.

“Patients and dedicated staff are facing major risks from a number of different sources which is wholly unacceptable.

“Now patients and staff will be left to endure substandard conditions at Monklands for a while yet given the SNP have slammed the brakes on a long overdue replacement. As a Lanarkshire MSP Neil Gray needs to rectify this appalling situation immediately.”

Scottish Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Wards and buildings with a list of faults as long as your arm are no place for sick patients or hard pressed staff.

“It’s clear that this facility needs a swift replacement but thanks to the Scottish Government’s decision all work to deliver one has stopped.

“It’s clear that the nationalists are bad for your health.”

(Image: PA)

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “Too many of Scotland’s hospitals have fallen into a state of disrepair under the SNP, leaving patients in danger and putting extra pressure on services.

“This damning document exposes the real cost of the SNP’s decision to delay upgrading and replacing hospitals – including in the new Health Secretary’s own back yard.

“The SNP must set out how it will get Scotland’s NHS fit for purpose so patients can get the care they need.”

Colin Lauder, director of planning, property and performance at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “NHS Lanarkshire remains fully committed to the new Monklands Replacement Project.

“The current programme is not paused with Outline Business Case approval given last year which identified an opening date of 2031. We have also appointed Laing O’Rourke as our preferred construction partner.

“We are continuing to work on developing a Full Business Case (FBC). Part of this process is having ongoing discussions with Scottish Government regarding the budget for the project which will be finalised as part of the FBC process. We are aiming to have the FBC complete during 2025.

“In the meantime, we continue to provide a safe patient environment with maintenance work being carried out across the current hospital site to manage and mitigate any risks to patients. There are, however, regular disruption to services caused by the deteriorating hospital buildings. This mitigation work has cost over £50m over the past 13 years and is expected to cost approximately £5m per annum until the new Monklands Replacement Project is complete.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The UK Government did not inflation-proof its capital budget which has resulted in nearly a 10% real-terms cut in the Scottish Government’s capital funding over the medium-term between 2023-24 and 2027-28.

“The result of this cut is that new health capital projects have currently been paused. Our emphasis for the immediate future will be on addressing backlog maintenance and essential equipment replacement.

“We are in active discussions with NHS Lanarkshire on the impact of this budget settlement on the proposal to replace University Hospital Monklands..

“Work is underway to update the pipeline of projects and programmes relating to the 2021 Infrastructure Investment Plan to ensure it is affordable and deliverable and provides best value for money. “

The Record revealed last week that NHS Lanarkshire is facing a massive £112.5m black hole and huge cuts to plug the deficit.

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