Monklands is ‘not the answer’

Health campaigner Tom Herbert at Stobhill
Health campaigner Tom Herbert at Stobhill

A proposal for local cancer 
patients to have chemotherapy at a new unit at Monklands Hospital has been vetoed by a leading health campaigner.

Lenzie man Tom Herbert, who has been heading the fight to have the treatment 
delivered for local patients at the ‘new’ Stobhill Hospital, said he saw no advantage for patients to travel to the hospital, based in Airdrie.

Tom told the Herald: “I took the bus journey myself. The 47 or 47A bus service runs hourly and takes a long one hour and 15 minutes each way.

“I see no advantage for cancer patients from East Dunbartonshire travelling to Monklands. They would also have to stay close to the service’s designated route as there are no park and ride facilities in or around Kirkintilloch.”

The proposal for Monklands was relayed to Tom by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Chief Executive Robert Calderwood. Work started on the £22 million unit at Monklands in May, intended to operate as a satellite of the Beatson for radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

In a letter to Tom, he said: “The new cancer treatment unit being constructed at Monklands includes the postcodes around Kirkintilloch.”

The health chief also admitted that in 2001, Stobhill hospital had been earmarked for chemotherapy services.

In the letter, he said: “We had intended to include outpatient and day chemotherapy services at Stobhill and the new Victoria.

“However, as I explained to you, the Board revisited its Cancer Services Strategy on the back of the business case to build the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre at Gartnavel in 2004.

“The review of the strategy concluded that within Glasgow, the services would be provided in two locations, namely the new Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre at Gartnavel and the new Victoria Hospital in the south side.”

He added this has remained the Board’s strategy, although it would continue to be kept under review.

Tom said: “For very much less than a five per cent spend from Monklands £22 million budget and a percentage of the sale of the Old Stobhill, a small dedicated therapy unit could easily be provided at Stobhill, managed by skilled nurse practitioners.

“Such a unit would allay the distress patients undergo travelling to the Beatson.”