The public scoring exercise to help decide the location of the new Monklands Hospital is now getting underway, with NHS Lanarkshire setting out how the expanded appraisal process will work.
Opinions on the relative merits of the three potential sites at Gartcosh, Glenmavis and Wester Moffat are being assessed by 400 patients and staff, who will consider travel times, site contamination, patient flow from Glasgow and access to NHS regional centres.
All those who had originally nominated themselves as interested in participating in the previous scoring exercise in March have been invited to take part in the new survey, being conducted online and by phone and post.
Nearly three-quarters of those interested are patients and carers, with the rest being medical staff.
Submissions will then be weighted on the basis of postcodes or medical roles to follow the assigned scoring proportions – with participants making up 51 per cent of the total, further subdivided by area, while staff responses will account for 49 per cent.
The views of residents from ML6 postcode areas, in and around Airdrie, will be calculated to account for 12 per cent of the final score, with Coatbridge totalling 11 per cent and the same amount representing the combined Bargeddie, Chryston, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth areas – based on usage of the current hospital.
Colin Lauder, who is NHS Lanarkshire’s director of property, planning and performance, told the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser: “A breakdown of community and staff representation – 51 per cent public and 49 per cent staff, with proportions for each geographical locality or staff group – has been agreed in conjunction with the Consultation Institute and approved by the NHS Lanarkshire baord.
“At stage one, all of the weightings submitted, for each criterion, will be averaged across all the participants and the final weightings confirmed and issued by the Consultation Institute before the scoring stage commences.
“At stage two, all of the scores will be averaged across all the participants, confirmed and issued by the Consultation Institute.
“They will make sure that there is no local bias in the exercise at both stages – first by ensuring, as much as possible, that the people taking part evenly represent the postcodes of users of the current hospital and agreed staff representation; [and] secondly, by looking at the responses received and adjusting, using a weighting technique, the ‘strength of voice’ from each area so that it reflects the agreed public and staff proportions.
“Any averaging undertaken will be set out in detail in the final option appraisal report, which will be published prior to the public feedback period.”
In addition to the views of Monklands residents, scores accounting for three per cent of the overall total will come from those living in Bellshill, and a further three from the combined Uddingston and Viewpark areas which are also within the current Monklands Hospital catchment.
Seven per cent is allocated to those living in the Wishaw General area and three per cent representing Hairmyres.
Ratings from current staff at University Hospital Monklands will make up a further 19 per cent of the overall total, with the remaining scores coming from representatives of Lanarkshire’s other two acute hospitals, health and social care partnerships and the Scottish Ambulance Service.
The site scoring exercise, which will run until next month, is being repeated after the original event at New Broomfield was marred by equipment failure, insufficient participants and inability to determine the geographical mix of responses.
It is now being re-run with a quadrupled number of potential participants, and Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Electoral Commission are also advising on the process.
Scores will then be supplemented by financial assessments from the health board, with the outcomes being published for a further period of public feedback.
Mr Lauder added: “It’s important to stress that the outcome of scoring will not be a final decision on a hospital location.
“It will be only one factor which will be considered by NHS Lanarkshire’s board, along with all of the other evidence collected during public and staff engagement, in identifying a preferred option for the new site.”
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Health board members will then recommend a “preferred option” to health secretary Jeane Freeman for a final decision on the hospital’s location.